Japan, Korea Rise Ahead of U.S. Jobs Report

Asia-Pacific stock markets traded mixed on Thursday as investors look ahead to the U.S. jobs report due later this week for clues about how long the Fed will stay on hold.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 returned to trading after a prolonged long weekend and gained handsomely, 518 points, or 1.8%, to finish Thursday at 29,331.37.

Elsewhere, the Japanese yen changed hands at 109.33 per U.S. dollar, weakening from an earlier level around 109.14

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index regained 219.48 points, or 0.8%, to 28,637.46.

The U.S. jobs report — one of the most influential economic reports in global financial markets — for April is due on Friday and economists say payrolls could easily reach one million after 916,000 jobs were added in March.

The Australian dollar retraced most of its earlier losses to trade down 0.1% at $0.7739.

The Aussie declined after China, which is Australia’s largest trading partner, reportedly suspended all activities "indefinitely" under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue in the middle of a strained relationship between Beijing and Canberra.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 resumed trading with a loss of 62.36 points, or 1.2%, to 5,061.13.

In Singapore, the Straits Times index restocked 19.41 points, or 0.6%, to 3,173.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index rumbled higher 150.92 points, or 0.9%, to 16,994.36

In New Zealand the NZX 50 retreated 96.64 points, or 0.8%, to 12,751.67

In Australia, the ASX 200 added 27.96 points, or 0.4%, to 7,095.82.