BANGKOK (AP) — Stock markets were mostly higher Friday ahead of the release of U.S. jobs data, which is expected to show companies still hiring at a brisk pace in the world’s largest economy.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX added 0.4 percent to 12,598 and the CAC 40 in France edged up 0.3 percent to 5,476. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.7 percent to 7,627. Dow and S&P 500 futures were flat, auguring a slow start on Wall Street.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 added less than 0.1 percent to 22,525.18 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 1.0 percent to 2,740.44. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gave up 0.2 percent to 27,650.83 and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent lower to 6,234.80. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.8 percent to 2,287.68.
US JOBS: Optimistic employers likely continued to add jobs in July at a strong rate thanks to strong growth and consumer spending. Economists forecast that the monthly report to be released Friday will show an increase of 191,000 jobs last month, down from 213,000 in June but easily enough to lower the unemployment rate over time. The jobless rate is projected to decline to 3.9 percent, near an 18-year low, from 4 percent.
TRADE: Escalating the trade conflict between the world’s two biggest economic powers, the Trump administration said it may impose a 25 percent tax on $200 billion in imports from China, to take effect after a hearing and public comment. That is up from a 10 percent tax it proposed in June. Reports of that shift brought a harsh rebuke from Chinese officials, who said such tactics were outdated and would not work.
ANALYST’S PERSPECTIVE: “Trade tensions remain the true driver for prices,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary. “For the day ahead, however, it will be the set of economic data to capture the market’s attention. July’s jobs data will be received with strong expectations brewing ahead of the release.”
TOYOTA’S RECORD: Toyota Motor Corp. reported Friday that its quarterly profit climbed 7.2 percent in April-June to a record 657.3 billion yen ($5.9 billion), exceeding analysts’ forecasts thanks to strong sales in the U.S. and other overseas markets. But the company kept its full year profit forecast unchanged and downgraded its sales forecast, citing uncertainties over market trends and trade policies.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 15 cents to $68.81 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 1.9 percent to $68.96 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 14 cents to $73.31 per barrel. It gained 1.5 percent to $73.45 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar was roughly flat at 111.66 yen, while the euro edged down to $1.1583 from $1.1587 a day earlier.