Gold Silver Reports — Most Asian equities rose and the Japanese yen held near a three-week high before U.S. jobs data that will shape expectations for the timing of the Federal Reserve’s next interest-rate hike. The British pound extended its loss for the week and Brent crude traded near $50 a barrel.
About five shares gained for every three that fell on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, while S&P 500 futures were little changed following the benchmark’s highest close in seven months. The yen fluctuated and China’s yuan was headed for a fifth weekly drop. Brent crude was little changed, after climbing to a seven-month high in the last session as data showed a decline in U.S. stockpiles. Soybean futures were near a 23-month high, buoyed by forecasts for dryer weather in the U.S. growing area.
U.S. stocks rallied Thursday as signs of steady job gains in the world’s biggest economy bolstered speculation that the Fed will raise borrowing costs this month or next. Thursday’s meetings of the European Central Bank and Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to have a lasting impact on financial markets and attention has shifted to Friday’s official report on American payrolls. Also on investors’ radars is the U.K.’s June 23 referendum on whether to remain in the European Union, with recent polls indicating growing support for an exit.
“The environment is not bad for risk assets and I expect it to continue, but all the attention is now on the Fed rate hike, including what impact a stronger dollar could have on emerging-market economies,” said Yusuke Kuwayama, a portfolio manager at Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. in Tokyo. “If the payrolls tonight are strong, we’ll see markets further price in a rate hike by pushing short-term yields higher and giving the dollar a bit of a boost.”
Friday’s U.S. employment figures are forecast to show employers added 160,000 jobs in May, the same as in April. Fed Governor Lael Brainard will be the first U.S. central bank official to speak after the release of the data, while Chicago Fed chief Charles Evans will speak ahead of the report. Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaks Monday, having said a week ago that a rate increase was probable in coming months. Gauges of services output in the U.S. and the euro area are also due Friday.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.1 percent as of 12:03 p.m. Tokyo time. Benchmarks in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore climbed as much as 0.6 percent, while Japan’s Topix and the Shanghai Composite Index were little changed. The Topix lost 1.3 percent this week as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to provide details of a fiscal stimulus package when he announced a delay to a sales-tax increase.
Noble Group Ltd. tumbled 12 percent in Singapore after the commodities trader announced a rights issue to raise about $500 million at about a 63 percent discount to Thursday’s close. Takata Corp. climbed about 4 percent in Tokyo as private-equity firms including Bain Capital and KKR & Co. evaluate bids for the scandal-ridden airbag maker.
Futures on the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index gained 0.4 percent. Contracts on the S&P 500 were steady after the measure climbed 0.3 percent last session to break 2,100 points, a level that has provided a cap to two rallies in the past eight months. It’s still 1.2 percent below the all-time high reached in May 2015.
Brent crude added 0.1 percent to $50.07 a barrel. The third drop in U.S. crude inventories in four weeks tempered the impact of OPEC’s decision to stick to a policy of unfettered production, turning down a proposal to adopt a new ceiling on output.
Soybean futures gained 0.2 percent, after jumping to the highest level in almost two years on Thursday.
The pound weakened 0.1 percent versus the greenback, contributing to a 1.5 percent slide for the week. It sank in recent days as successive polls indicated British voters are becoming more inclined to vote in favor of leaving the EU.
The yuan was little changed on the day and 0.2 percent lower for the week. There’s a growing risk that capital outflows from China may accelerate as the yuan weakens, spilling over into global markets and causing broad selloffs similar to those in January and August, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
The yen was little changed on the day and 1.3 percent stronger than a week ago. New Zealand’s dollar was set for a 1.8 percent weekly gain, the best performance among major currencies.
Investors are paying close attention to U.S. data after Fed officials indicated a potential interest-rate hike as soon as this summer was contingent on continued improvement in the economy. Figures released Thursday by the ADP Research Institute indicated 173,000 workers were taken on last month in America, while filings for unemployment benefits declined for a third consecutive week, according to separate data. — Neal Bhai Reports