Asian stocks end week on a mixed note; all eyes on US jobs data

<p>Asian markets had another mixed day of trading today, ending in slightly negative territory ahead of the U.S. jobs numbers out tonight local time. The […]</p>

Asian markets had another mixed day of trading today, ending in slightly negative territory ahead of the U.S. jobs numbers out tonight local time.

The Australian market was the standout performer, closing 1.4% higher after a late spike led by resource and banking stocks. The country’s banks shrugged off an S&P downgraded, mainly due to revised methodology, with the financials index finishing the trading session up 1.7%.

The Australian dollar was last trading at 1.0216 against the U.S. dollar, having held 1.02 for most of the Asia trading session. The EUR/USD was last trading at 1.3455 and the USD/JPY at 77.81.

In regional economic news, Hong Kong’s retail sales growth – often a good gauge into regional sentiment – consolidated for a third straight month as global conditions and lower equity market prices hurt consumer confidence.

While the 23.1% growth rate on the same month last year would be envied in most places around the world, it was down on the 24% growth rate booked in September. The report comes as Goldman Sachs and HSBC recently revised down their Chinese growth assumptions which now assume earlier than expected interest rate cuts.

In corporate news, Nikko Asset Management said it has postponed its IPO on the Tokyo exchange given the state of current market conditions. The IPO was planned for mid December but the share sale in Japan and offshore was pulled by the company. The group is reported to have around 12.8 trillion yen in assets under management, with around 500 staff, making it a significant regional player.


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