ASIAN STOCKS TALKING POINTS:
- Asian stocks traded mixed Friday
- US trade policy is again under scrutiny as investors worry about a more protectionist White House
- Nonfarm payroll data are likely to dominate the remainder of Friday
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Asian stocks were mixed Friday as trade concerns bubbled back to the fore and investors looked to key US labour market data which are due for release after local markets close.
The US announcement this week of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from several allies, including Canada, has markets fretting the Trump White House’s protectionism anew.
The Nikkei 225 was up by 0.1% in the Tokyo afternoon, with the ASX 200 and the Shanghai Composite both in the red by 0.5%. The Kospi stood out, gaining 0.6%.
The markets are looking for an increase of about 190,000 in nonfarm US jobs for May, which if seen will be a reassuring acceleration from April’s underwhelming 168,000 rise. The unemployment rate is expected to have remained steady at 3.9%.
The Euro was on course for a rare weekly gain against the US Dollar as investor worries about euroskeptic political turmoil in Italy simmered down. The Canadian Dollar and the Mexican Peso took a knock on those trade-related jitters. Those same worries initially supported the gold price but it slipped back a little through Asian trading hours. They also weighed on crude oil prices, as did news of record US production.
Technically speaking, West Texas Intermediate crude prices are now finding support just above the 50% Fibonacci retracement of their rise from February’s lows.
There’s plenty of economic data still to come Friday from both Europe and the US but those labor stats are going to be the only show in town for investors.
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— Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
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