Most Asian stocks rose, paring a weekly decline on the regional index, after a drop in American jobless claims bolstered optimism about the world’s largest economy before a government report on employment.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s largest lender, advanced 1.9 percent, contributing most to Friday’s gains. Citic Securities Co. climbed at least 2.7 percent in Shanghai and Hong Kong amid speculation a share-trading link between the two cities will start soon. Takata Corp. fell to the lowest in two years as the Japanese company at the center of a safety crisis widened its loss forecast and warned it can’t estimate the full financial liability for faulty air bags.
About two shares climbed for each that retreated on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which was little changed at 140.05 as of 4:05 p.m. in Hong Kong. The measure is headed for a 1.3 percent decline this week. The European Central Bank vowed Thursday to increase stimulus if needed, less than a week after the Bank of Japan bolstered already-unprecedented easing.
“U.S. data continued to tick along with unemployment claims falling more than expected,” said Stan Shamu, Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Ltd. “Optimism is running hot heading into today’s official non-farm payrolls.”
The number of Americans filing jobless claims for the first time dropped to a three-week low of 278,000 in the week to Nov. 1, below the 285,000 median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Friday’s data may show nonfarm payrolls rose by 235,000 last month, after climbing 248,000 in September, according to the median of 100 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The jobless rate probably held at a six-year low of 5.9 percent last month.
ECB President Mario Draghi said policy makers will be ready to implement further measures if needed as he signaled officials may cut growth forecasts next month. Speaking at a press conference in Frankfurt Thursday after the central bank left interest rates unchanged, Draghi said that the Governing Council “is unanimous in its commitment to using additional unconventional instruments within its mandate.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.4 percent and the Shanghai Composite lost 0.3 percent. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. added 2 percent amid optimism for cross-border equity trading.
Japan’s Topix index gained 0.5 percent. The yen slid 0.2 percent to 115.45 per dollar after falling 0.5 percent Thursday to a seven-year low.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.2 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index was little changed. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index retreated from a record high, losing 0.2 percent.
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