Asia Trades Mixed Before U.S. Jobs Report

Asia-Pacific markets traded mixed Friday, with some indexes shedding gains, ahead of the U.S. jobs report due later in the day that might provide some indication on what the Fed could do next.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 26.45 points, or 0.1%, to finish the week at 29,357.82.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 109.14 per U.S. dollar as it stayed relatively rangebound this week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index tailed off 26.81 points, or 0.1%, to 28,610.65.

In Singapore, shares of Singapore Press Holdings, publisher of the city-state’s daily broadsheet the Straits Times, tumbled 14.5%.

SPH, which also has a real estate business, said Thursday it will spin off its troubled media business into a not-for-profit entity.

Friday’s session followed overnight moves on Wall Street where major U.S. indexes advanced following a better-than-expected reading on jobless claims.

Investors will be looking ahead to the U.S. non-farm payroll count for April due Friday — economists expect as many as one million payrolls were added last month and the unemployment rate likely fell from 6% to 5.8%.

As one of the most influential economic reports in global financial markets, the April jobs numbers will carry more importance as it may indicate what the U.S. Federal Reserve may do next. The U.S. central bank has pledged to keep its zero rates policy and other easing measures in place until it believes the labor market is strong and inflation is hotter.

The Australian dollar traded down 0.12% at $0.7770.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 faded 65.07 points, or 1.3%, to 4,996.05.

In Singapore, the Straits Times index picked up 27.26 points, or 0.9%, to 3,200.26.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index popped 290.64 points, or 1.7%, to 17,285.

In New Zealand the NZX 50 dropped 21.75 points, or 0.2%, to 12,729.92

In Australia, the ASX 200 added 19.14 points, or 0.3%, to 7,080.83.