Asian Stocks Extend Recovery Ahead of U.S. Payrolls Data

By Ambar Warrick Most Asian stocks logged strong gains on Friday, recovering some of their losses from earlier in the week as focus turned to upcoming U.S. payrolls data for more clues on the world’s largest economy. 

Taiwan stocks gained the most among their peers, rising 1.8% as of 2322 ET (0322 GMT). The index was hit hard by concerns over growing political tensions with China, and is set to end the week marginally lower. 

Chinese stocks rose slightly on Friday, with the blue-chip Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 adding 0.3%. But a mix of tensions over Taiwan and sluggish manufacturing data put the benchmark on course to lose 1.4% for the week. 

Asian stocks had marked a strong recovery from weekly lows on Thursday, as a batch of strong U.S. earnings increased optimism over corporate prospects. Investors in the region are now bracing for a slew of earnings reports next week from Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean heavyweights. 

U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, due later in the day, is also expected to shine more light on the economy. The figure is expected to have dropped in July from the prior month, indicating that the job market remains under pressure. This is also likely to factor into the Federal Reserve's plans to hike interest rates. 

Hong Kong shares of Chinese e-commerce giant  Alibaba) Group Holding Ltd (HK:9988) fell 2.2% to 92.95 Hong Kong dollars (HK$), weighing on the broader Hang Seng index after the firm logged a flat revenue in the June quarter. 

But the results of the firm were slightly better than expected, pointing to some resilience in the Chinese economy- Alibaba’s biggest market. 

Shares of peer Jd Com Inc (HK:9618) fell 0.6%, while those of tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK:0700) dropped 1.7%. Tencent is set to report its half-year earnings on August 17. 

Philippine stocks dropped 0.2% after inflation grew more than expected in July to a 6.4% annual rate. The figure is likely to spur more interest rate hikes by the central bank, denting equity markets.

On the other hand, Thai stocks rose 0.1% after inflation came in slightly below expectations for July.


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