BEIJING — Asian stocks rose on Friday ahead of an update on the health of the U.S. labor market, while the Federal Reserve weighed whether more rate hikes are needed to cool rising inflation.
US futures and oil prices rose slightly.
Investors awaited monthly US employment figures for signs of weakness that could prompt the Fed to decide it needs to unleash aggressive rate hikes to cool inflation. Other data suggests the economy is slowing, which should reduce pressure for prices to rise.
“There is likely to be a particular focus on the resilience of job growth” following a surge in jobless claims, ActivTrades’ Anderson Alves said in a report.
The Shanghai Composite advanced less than 0.1 percent to 3,191.88, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose less than 0.1 percent to 20,192.77.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.7 percent to 28,131.87 after June cash labor earnings rose 2.2 percent from a year ago, though forecasters warned the strength was unlikely to last . Workers receive semi-annual bonuses in June.
Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.7% to 2,490.91 and Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 advanced 0.4% to 7,002.90.
Investors fear that rate hikes by the Fed and other central banks in Europe and Asia to control inflation nearing multi-decade highs could derail economic growth.
The Fed has raised its benchmark rate twice by 0.75 percentage points this year, triple its usual margin and the biggest hikes since the early 1990s.
Fed officials have sought to calm fears that the United States could slide into recession by pointing to a strong labor market as evidence that the economy can tolerate higher borrowing costs.
The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits last week rose by a modest 6,000 from the previous week to 260,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time claims generally reflect layoffs, but forecasters still see the labor market as one of the strongest parts of the economy.
Data earlier this week indicated that the number of new U.S. jobs being announced fell, but was still near record highs.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower on Thursday as investors digested corporate earnings reports and awaited employment data.
The S&P 500 fell to 4,151.94 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 32,726.82. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.4% to 12,720.58.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 30 cents to $88.84 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.12 in the previous session to $88.54. Brent crude, the price benchmark for international trade, advanced 22 cents to $94.34 a barrel. It fell $2.66 in the previous session to $94.12.
The dollar rose to 133.14 yen from 132.91 yen on Thursday. The euro fell to $1.0237 from $1.0249.