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Asian Stocks Set for Second Weekly Gain Before U.S. Jobs
2014-04-04 09:46:16

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.1 percent to 139.04 as of 9:36 a.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge yesterday capped a seventh straight advance, its longest winning streak this year, after a private report showed stronger-than-forecast growth in U.S. employment in March. The government’s nonfarm payrolls data due today will show that hiring increased last month by the most since November, economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg show.

“Barring something out of left field, a nothing sort of day is on the cards,” Tony Farnham, a Perth-based analyst at Paterson Securities Ltd., said in an e-mail.

Asian shares are on course for a second week of gains, with Japanese stocks rebounding from last quarter’s slump and Hong Kong equities surging as China outlined economic stimulus plans. The regional measure this week rose 1.7 percent through yesterday, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 2.3 percent.

Japan’s Topix index slid 0.1 percent today, paring its weekly advance to 2.4 percent. Volume was 20 percent below its 30-day average for this time of day. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.1 percent, with volume 37 percent lower than average. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index declined 0.1 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 0.2 percent.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.4 percent, led by Tencent Holdings Ltd. (700), Asia’s largest listed Internet firm. The shares slid 4.7 percent to HK$521, on course for the first back-to-back weekly loss since November. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies traded in Hong Kong lost 0.2 percent.

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures rose 0.2 percent today. The U.S. equities benchmark slipped 0.1 percent yesterday, from a record, as consumer and technology shares slumped.

U.S. employers probably added 200,000 people to nonfarm payrolls last month, according to the median of 90 economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg, the most since a 274,000 increase in November and up from the 175,000 workers added in February. Data yesterday showed an uptick in jobless claims, with the number of people filing for unemployment benefits in the U.S. rising to a five-week high of 326,000, exceeding the median forecast for 319,000.

The Asia-Pacific stock gauge yesterday traded at 12.6 times estimated earnings, compared with 16.1 for the S&P 500 and 14.7 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

LG Innotek Co. climbed 4.8 percent to 108,500 won in Seoul, a three-year high, as Samsung Securities Co. lifted its price-estimate on shares of the phone-parts maker by 27 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Haigh in Sydney at ahaigh1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sarah McDonald atsmcdonald23@bloomberg.net Jim McDonald

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-04/asian-stocks-decline-before-u-s-employment-report.html





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