Asian Stocks Mixed Ahead of Key U.S. Jobs Data, Nikkei Lower, Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite Down

Asian Stocks Mixed Ahead of Key U.S. Jobs Data, Nikkei Lower, Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite Down

Asian Stocks Mixed Ahead of Key U.S. Jobs Data

Asian stock markets displayed a mixed performance on Friday, following a steady Thursday on Wall Street. This cautious sentiment comes as investors await the release of crucial U.S. jobs data later in the day.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged down 0.1%, closing at 38,661.04. This slight decline followed the release of data showing a 0.5% year-on-year increase in household spending for April. This marks the first increase since February 2023 and serves as a key indicator for the Bank of Japan as it prepares for its upcoming policy meeting.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index and the Shanghai Composite index both experienced declines. The Hang Seng fell 0.6% to 18,367.73, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.4% to 3,036.08. This follows the release of China's trade data, which showed exports in May exceeding expectations with a 7.6% increase compared to the previous year. However, imports fell short of market forecasts.

Meanwhile, U.S. markets closed with minimal movement on Thursday after the S&P 500 reached an all-time high for the 25th time this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2%, while the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1% after hitting its own record high.

Several companies reported earnings on Thursday, with mixed results. Big Lots tumbled 18.2% after reporting a larger-than-expected loss for the latest quarter. Five Below's stock also fell 10.6% after its profit and revenue fell short of analysts' expectations. Both companies cited challenges related to inflation and consumer spending, particularly among lower-income customers.

The upcoming U.S. jobs report is expected to show slight increases in hiring and average hourly wage gains. This data will be closely watched by investors and policymakers as it provides insights into the health of the U.S. labor market and potential inflationary pressures.