Stocks in Asia traded higher Friday afternoon ahead of the release of the U.S. jobs report for April, expected later in the day stateside.
Japanese stocks led gains among the region’s major markets, with the Nikkei 225 jumping 2.06% in afternoon trade as shares of index heavyweights Fast Retailing and Softbank Group each rose more than 2.5%. The Topix index also rose 1.7%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 1.3%.
The Reserve Bank of Australia on Friday released its statement on monetary policy, where it highlighted that global GDP is “expected to fall sharply in the first half of 2020.”
“The declines in the March quarter were driven by a contraction in Chinese and euro area activity as well as the rollout of containment measures elsewhere late in the quarter,” the report said. “A further fall in global GDP is expected in the June quarter, with many countries expected to record quarterly declines in GDP.”
“We shouldn’t expect to see a V-shaped recovery,” Sat Duhra, portfolio manager of Asia dividend income strategy at Janus Henderson Investors, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday. “We’ve seen a bit of a V-shaped recovery in markets but that’s not how the real economy will behave.”
“When we think about the U.S. and we’re talking about you know … one month worth of jobs data erasing nearly a decade worth of jobs gains and that’s pretty incredible stuff,” Duhra said. “You cannot expect those people just to walk back into a job when shops and businesses start to open in the next few months.”
The investor’s comments came ahead of the U.S. employment report for April, expected at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday. Economists expect that more than 20 million jobs were lost last month, according to Dow Jones.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Nasdaq Composite closed 1.4% higher at 8,979.66, leaving it up nearly 0.1% for the year — erasing all its losses for 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed higher on Thursday by 211.25 points, or 0.9%, at 23,875.89. The S&P 500 gained 1.2% to close at 2,881.19.
Thursday marked the first time one of the major averages stateside was up year to date since the coronavirus pandemic led to the closure of nonessential businesses, sparking massive layoffs and a historic market sell-off.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.701 after slipping from levels above 100 seen earlier this week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.35 per dollar after strengthening from levels around 107 seen earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6532 after rising sharply from levels below $0.642 yesterday.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.39% at $29.87 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also advanced 1.57% to $23.92 per barrel.
What’s on tap for Friday:
- U.S.: Employment report for April at 8:30 a.m. ET
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Patti Domm contributed to this report.