Asian stocks mixed on strong US hiring, OPEC oil output cuts

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Thursday after strong U.S. hiring dampened hopes the Federal Reserve might ease off plans for interest rate hikes and the OPEC group of oil exporters agreed to output cuts to shore up prices.

Tokyo and Seoul advanced while Hong Kong and Sydney declined. Chinese markets were closed for a holiday. Oil prices edged higher.

Wall Street's benchmark lost 0.2% on Wednesday, ending a two-day rally, after payroll processor ADP said U.S. employers added 208,000 jobs in September, slightly more than expected. That showed some parts of the U.S. economy still are strong, giving ammunition to Fed officials who say more rate hikes are needed to cool inflation that is at a four-decade high.

“The economy is too strong for the Fed to pivot. The strong start to October is over,” Edward Moya of Oanda said in a report.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.9% to 27,354.41 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.6% to 17,969.52.

The Kospi in Seoul surged 1.3% to 2,244.16 while Sydney's S&P ASX 200 shed 0.1% to 6,808.70.

New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets gained.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 declined to 3,783.28. The benchmark was coming of its strongest two-day rally in 2 1/2 years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1% to 30,273.87. The Nasdaq composite slid 0.2% to 11,148.64.

Investors are hoping data that show the economy weakening will persuade the Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia to ease off rate hikes. They worry aggressive action to cool inflation might tip the global economy into recession, but forecasters say hopes central bankers will relent might be premature.

The yield on the two-year Treasury bond, or the difference between the market price and the payout at maturity, rose to 4.13% from 4.10% late Monday.

Wall Street is waiting for corporate results that will show how inflation is affecting businesses and consumers' willingness to spend.

Fed officials say they are determined to keep raising interest rates and keep them at an elevated level until it is clear inflation has subsided.

Elsewhere, New Zealand’s central bank raised its benchmark lending rate to 3.5%, its fifth hike in eight months. It said inflation still was too high at 7.3%.

The U.S. government is due to release an update on employment Friday.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $87.96 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

It gained $1.24 on Wednesday to $87.76 per barrel after energy ministers from Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to production cuts to shore up sagging prices.

Oil surged to above $110 per barrel following Russia's February attack on Ukraine but has fallen back. The decision to support prices might help Moscow maintain its income once Europe's decision to cut purchases of Russian crude as punishment for the war on Ukraine takes effect in December.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused OPEC of “aligning with Russia.”

Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, added 20 cents per barrel to $93.57 in London. It advanced $1.57 the previous session to $93.37.

The dollar rose to 144.67 yen from Wednesday's 144.49 yen. The euro gained to 99.06 cents from 98.94 cents.


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