Asia stocks ease, dollar off highs before US payrolls

04 May, 2018 1:52 pm

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares fell on Friday while the dollar ran into some profit-taking after several weeks of strong gains as financial markets turned their attention to looming US payrolls data for fresh catalysts.

Spreadbetters pointed to a firm start for European shares although Wall Street was poised for another wobbly day. E-Minis for S&P 500 ESc1 were off 0.2 percent while London’s FTSE futures FF1c1 climbed 0.4 percent.

Regional trading was relatively quieter as Japan was on holiday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.5 percent, and looked set for a third straight weekly loss.

Indonesian stocks led the declines, falling as much as 1.5 percent in early trading before recouping some of those losses. South Korean shares  were down 1 percent and Australian shares eased 0.6 percent.

The focus for markets will be on the US jobs data due later in the global day, with the April report likely to underscore labor market strength.

Non-farm payrolls probably increased by 192,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, after rising only 103,000 in March.

But it will be the wages figure that analysts will closely watch.

“A further pick-up in the pace of wage gains could be the ‘smoking gun’ for the Fed to express any shift away from ‘roughly balanced’ risks to inflation,” said Mizuho analyst Vishnu Varathan in a note.

“For now, we expect that reactions may still be subdued given that the runway of evidence remains short; and so the bearish UST and bullish USD trades may not be taking off aggressively just yet.”

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