Stock market today: Asian shares are mostly higher ahead of a key US jobs report

HONG KONG — Asian shares were mostly higher on Friday ahead of a US government jobs report, after Wall Street rose on Thursday to snap its first three-day losing streak since Halloween.

U.S. futures were lower and oil prices rose more than $1.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index fell 1.8% to 32,254.82 as investors speculated that the Bank of Japan could end its negative interest rate policy.

Ahead of Thursday's meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda told parliament that the central bank would face an “even more challenging” situation at the end of the year and early 2024. On Friday, the US dollar fell from 144.12 to 143.79 Japanese yen. yen. Until mid-November, the price traded above 150 yen.

Updated data released Friday showed Japan's economy contracted at an annual rate of 2.9% in the July-September quarter, worse than previously estimated.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.3% to 16,394.90 and the Shanghai Composite index rose 0.4% to 2,977.83. Seoul's Kospi gained 1% to 2,519.07. The Australian S&The P/ASX 200 rose 0.2% to 7190.70. India's Sensex gained 0.4% and Bangkok's SET gained 0.2%.

On Thursday the S&The P500 rose 0.8% to 4,585.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to 36,117.38, and the Nasdaq composite rose 1.4% to 14,339.99.

Big Tech stocks helped lift the market, with Google's parent company Alphabet jumping 5.3%. They're Wall Street's most influential stocks because of their sheer size, and they've seen huge tears so far this year.

Cerevel Therapeutics also rose 11.4% after AbbVie announced an $8.7 billion deal to buy the company and its pipeline of candidates for schizophrenia, Parkinson's and other diseases. AbbVie added 1.1%.

Wall Street has risen to its highest level since March 2022, thanks in large part to hopes that the Federal Reserve has finally finished raising interest rates aimed at controlling high inflation. Investors are eagerly awaiting Friday's US jobs report.

The Federal Reserve wants the labor market to slow just enough. Too much weakness would put people out of work and lead to a possible recession, but too much strength could put upward pressure on inflation.

On Thursday, a report said slightly more U.S. workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, though the number is not alarmingly high and falls right in line with economists' expectations.

The hope of lower interest rates helps all kinds of investments, especially those seen as the most expensive or most promising big growth far into the future. That's helped Big Tech stocks post huge gains this year.

Alphabet's jump on Thursday brought its year-to-date gain to just over 55%. On Wednesday, it announced the launch of its Gemini artificial intelligence model. Alphabet was the strongest force holding the S&P500 up, but Apple, Amazon and Nvidia all rose at least 1% as well.

Another winner was JetBlue Airways, which rose 15.2% after it said it could report better results for the final three months of the year than previously expected. The country also slightly lowered the top end of its fuel cost forecast at the end of 2023.

On the losing side of Wall Street, tumbled 10.8% after reporting weaker revenue for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

Crude oil prices have fallen recently as there are concerns that global demand may not meet available supply. But on Friday they reversed their decline. The price for a barrel of US crude rose by $1.00 to $70.34. It lost 4 cents to settle at $69.34 on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained $1.15 to $75.20 a barrel.

The euro fell from $1.0793 to $1.0787.


AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.