Asia shares lower ahead of US jobs data

Asian shares mostly slipped in nervous trade on Friday ahead of closely watched US jobs figures later in the day, at the end of a week that has provided mixed signals on the global economy.

Investors also remained cautious before the French presidential election run-off on Sunday, with incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy trailing Francois Hollande, who says he wants to review a recent eurozone fiscal pact.

Sydney shed 0.74 percent, or 33.0 points, to 4,396.0 and Seoul slipped 0.30 percent, or 5.96 points, to 1,989.15

Hong Kong fell 0.77 percent, or 163.53 points, to 21,086.00 but Shanghai rose 0.49 percent, adding 11.93 points to end at 2,452.01.

Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

The lead from Wall Street was glum as investors there braced themselves for another disappointing non-farm payrolls report Friday after an up-and-down week of economic data.

It began with figures showing the economy grew at a slower pace than forecast in the January-March first quarter while two days later a study revealed a surprise rise in manufacturing activity.

US payrolls firm ADP said just 119,000 private sector jobs were created in April, well off the forecast 170,000, signalling the recent surge in employment could be tailing off.

And while data showed Thursday that jobless claims dipped in the previous week, that was overshadowed by news the all-important services sector had grown slower in April than March.

"As concern over US growth robustness is intensifying, the jobs number will provide further clues for assessing the US outlook and the (Federal Reserve's) stance," said Kintai Cheung, strategist at Credit Agricole, in a note.

Economists expect Friday's jobs report to show the economy created just 162,000 jobs last month, while unemployment stayed at 8.2 percent.

The Dow fell 0.47 percent, the S&P 500 shed 0.77 percent and the Nasdaq was down 1.16 percent.

The dollar bought 80.16 yen, down from 80.18 yen late Thursday in New York, while the euro was at $1.3133 from $1.3152, and 105.29 yen against 105.46 yen.

The European Central Bank on Thursday held interest rates at historic lows but held off making any more decisions on boosting the region's struggling economy, despite figures showing unemployment at a record high of 10.9 percent.

France goes to the polls Sunday to choose between Sarkozy and his Socialist opponent, who has said he would put the country on a more growth-oriented course, instead of austerity.

Hollande's position has raised concerns among France's neighbours that it could hurt the eurozone's second-biggest economy, leading to a fresh crisis.

Oil prices were higher. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in June, was 93 cents lower at $101.61 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for June was down 87 cents at $115.21 in late afternoon.

Gold was at $1,631.75 an ounce at 0800 GMT, compared with $1,644.00 late Thursday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei finished 0.54 percent, or 41.42 points, higher at 7,700.95.

HTC rose 4.31 percent to Tw$471.5 while TSMC fell 1.46 percent to Tw$87.6.

-- Manila closed flat, edging down 2.86 points to 5,297.55.

Megaworld was up 1.4 percent at 2.17 pesos while Philippine Long Distance Telephone dropped 0.23 percent to 2,566 pesos and Ayala Corp. fell 1.86 percent to 454 pesos.

-- Wellington ended 0.75 percent, or 26.93 points, lower at 3,549.78.

Contact Energy fell 0.62 percent to NZ$4.82, Fletcher Building shed 1.10 percent to NZ$6.28 and Telecom closed 2.33 percent lower at NZ$2.52.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • Philippines seeks stronger commitment from U.S. in South China Sea dispute
    Philippines seeks stronger commitment from U.S. in South China Sea dispute

    The Philippines is seeking a "stronger commitment" from the United States to help its ally, the defence minister said on Monday, as China asserts its sovereignty over disputed areas of the South China Sea. China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims. China said on Monday it had lodged a complaint with the United States over a U.S. spy plane that flew …

  • Aquino: Philippines to fly usual routes over disputed reefs

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine aircraft will continue to fly their usual routes over disputed reefs in the South China Sea, the country's president said Monday, defying China's challenges to its planes and those of the United States. …

  • Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community
    Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community

    A “Dadbod” is a newly coined term now trending in media. It was introduced to the world by Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson as she refers to any man—father or bachelor—with a physique that’s a “nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” “It’s more human, natural, and attractive,” she adds. For this writer, […] The post Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • A weekend of premium cars
    A weekend of premium cars

    Good news to all luxury car fanatics as PGA Cars, the exclusive importer and distributor of Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley cars in the country, will be holding the PGA Cars Premium Festival from May 29 to May 31 at the PGA Center in Global City in Taguig. The 3-day event will showcase PGA’s latest […] The post A weekend of premium cars appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda
    APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda

    Trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Boracay, Aklan agreed yesterday to endorse the proposed Boracay Action Agenda to the member countries’ leaders, presenting opportunities for global trade for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a press conference following the conclusion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who also served as chairman, said ministers agreed to recommend the adoption of the …

  • Talks with China over sea row urged
    Talks with China over sea row urged

    The Philippines should engage China in bilateral talks in its efforts to maintain peace and order at the disputed West Philippine Sea, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday. Escudero supports the government’s move to bring the issue before international arbitration but also stressed the need for the Philippines to pursue talks with China. Escudero made the statement after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. …

  • House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills
    House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills

    The House committee on national defense is deliberating on a measure mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide. Authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the bill mandates that risk reduction drills be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units. “The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options