HONG KONG—Asian markets mostly rose on Thursday, with sentiment buoyed by more impressive jobs data from the United States but Tokyo struggled after the dollar fell back below the 100 yen mark in New York.
Bargain-buyers also provided some support after Hong Kong and Sydney suffered big losses in the previous session, but traders’ main focus is the release Friday of US non-farm payrolls figures.
Tokyo slipped 0.26 percent, or 36.63 points, to 14,018.93 but Seoul added 0.79 percent, or 14.48 points, to end at 1,839.14 while Sydney rallied 1.07 percent, or 50.6 points, to 4,794.7.
Shanghai rose 0.59 percent, or 11.83 points, to 2,006.1, supported by bargain-buyers after the benchmark index slumped last week.
Hong Kong was up 1.60 percent, or 321.36 points, to end at 20,468.67, also rebounding after a heavy fall on Wednesday.
Wall Street finished in positive territory on Wednesday in shortened trade ahead of the July 4 Independence Day holiday.
US payrolls firm ADP estimated that 188,000 private-sector jobs were generated in June, up from its May reading of 134,000 and above the 137,000 average for March-May, when the economy went through a dip.
Also, the Labor Department said weekly new claims for unemployment compensation, a signal of the pace of layoffs, fell to 343,000 in the week ending Friday, 5,000 below the previous week.
The Dow rose 0.38 percent, the S&P 500 edged up 0.08 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.30 percent.
The news points to a positive result for the broader figures on Friday, with investors using the data as a gauge of what the US Federal Reserve will do with its massive bond-buying scheme, known as quantitative easing (QE).
“How the markets react (to Friday’s jobs data) is anyone’s guess. Good news might be bad news for the markets as anything that argues for the Fed to end QE sooner rather than later is not appreciated,” said Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.
“But even that reaction will likely change since good news is, well, good news.”
On forex markets the dollar remained under pressure against the yen after falling back in New York in thin trade.
The greenback bought 99.67 yen in the afternoon, from 99.86 yen in New York late Wednesday.
The euro fetched $1.2995 and 129.52 yen against $1.3010 and 129.93 yen.
As the mood looks more upbeat in the US economy, Europe’s woes returned to the fore after the foreign minister of debt-wracked Portugal resigned over the country’s painful austerity measure put in place for a bailout.
While the prime minister did not accept the resignation, the move shocked the coalition government a day after the sudden departure of its finance minister.
Oil prices were mixed but turbulence in Egypt continued to provide support after the army overthrew and detained the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, on Wednesday.
The troubles have raised concerns about oil tankers’ passage through the crucial Suez canal.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for delivery in August, edged up three cents to $101.27 a barrel in afternoon trade, around its highest level since May last year.
Brent North Sea crude for August slipped 20 cents to $105.56, having seen huge gains over the past few days as violence erupted in Cairo.
Gold was at $1,250.80 per ounce at 0810 GMT, compared with $1,245.50 late Wednesday.
In other markets:
— Bangkok lost 0.88 percent, or 12.69 points, to close at 1,430.88.
Construction company CH Karnchang dropped 11.11 percent to 17.60 baht, while TMB Bank jumped 6.84 percent to 2.50 baht.
— Singapore ended 0.56 percent, or 17.63 points, higher at 3,147.12.
Singapore Telecom finished flat at Sg$3.66 and Singapore Airlines climbed 1.20 percent to Sg$10.90.
— Kuala Lumpur gained 2.13 points, or 0.12 percent, to 1,771.34.
Genting Malaysia added 1.8 percent to 3.94 ringgit while Kuala Lumpur Kepong rose 0.8 percent to 21.64. IGB Corporation slipped 1.2 percent to 2.49 ringgit.
— Jakarta ended up 0.10 percent, or 4.78 points, at 4,581.93.
State-controlled miner Aneka Tambang climbed 4.17 percent to 1,000 rupiah and cement maker Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa advanced 1.58 percent to 22,550 rupiah while food manufacturer Indofood Sukses Makmur lost 2.08 percent to 7,050 rupiah.
— Wellington rose 0.18 percent, or 8.20 points, to 4,458.95.
Chorus was up 1.6 percent at NZ$2.58, Xero gained 4.4 percent to NZ$17.49 and Fletcher Building added 0.8 percent at NZ$8.49.
— Manila was 0.24 percent lower, shedding 15.86 points to 6,464.26.
Ayala Land fell 1.31 percent to 30.10 pesos and Metropolitan Bank and Trust slipped 0.62 percent to 112 pesos.
— Taipei fell 0.22 percent, or 17.70 points, to 7,893.72.
Smartphone maker HTC slid 3.13 percent to Tw$201.0 while Hon Hai was 0.82 percent lower at Tw$72.6.
— Mumbai rose 1.22 percent, or 233.08 points, to 19,410.84.
India’s state-run refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp. (BPCL) rose 4.82 percent to 374.0 rupees while diversified group ITC rose 3.74 percent to 338.5 rupees.