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China stocks up, other Asian markets lower after US losses

August 7, 2015

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese stocks rose Friday while other Asian markets followed Wall Street lower as investors looked ahead to U.S. jobs data and a meeting of Japan’s central bank.

KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.9 percent to 3,731.75 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.9 percent to 24,605.25. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.2 percent to 20,616.43 and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.8 percent to 5,505.40. Seoul’s Kospi edged down 0.1 percent to 2,010.75. Taiwan, New Zealand and Jakarta also declined.

CHINA’S WOBBLES: The Shanghai index’s gain, on top of Thursday’s 0.9 percent rise, follows multibillion-dollar government efforts to stop a slide in stock prices. The Shanghai index rose 150 percent beginning in late 2014 before hitting a peak in June and declining. Traders are waiting to see when Beijing will withdraw controls that include a ban on sales by big shareholders and curbs on short selling.

WALL STREET: Walt Disney and other media giants sank following signs more people are cancelling cable TV. Viacom, the company behind Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, plunged 14 percent after it reported lower sales and profit. 21st Century Fox, which owns MTV, lost 6 percent after it reported a drop in television revenue. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 0.8 percent, the Nasdaq composite lost 1.6 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.7 percent.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “There are concerns the S&P 500 may be set for some major declines as rallies are seeing less volume behind them,” said Angus Nicholson of IG Markets in a report. “The media sector has been the second-best-performing sector in the six-year rally in U.S. equities, so it is quite worrying to see its big drops after Disney’s earnings in the previous session, and now Fox and Viacom. The recent declines in Apple, arguably the most representative bellwether stock of the whole index, are also adding further negative sentiment.”

US JOBS: Forecasters expect the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report due out Friday to show employers added 225,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held at 5.3 percent. That would buttress expectations the Fed will lift its benchmark interest rate later this year.

WATCHING JAPAN: Investors were watching a Bank of Japan meeting on Friday for signs of whether it might expand stimulus. Japan is below hitting the bank’s inflation target of 2 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. oil gained 14 cents to $44.80 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.11 on Thursday to close at $44.66. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 14 cents to $49.66 in London after adding 7 cents in the previous session to close at $49.52.

CURRENCIES: The dollar gained to 124.82 yen from Thursday’s 124.68 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0915 from $1.0926.

Update hourly