Most Asian stocks advanced as investors awaited U.S. jobs data to gauge whether the economy is strong enough to withstand the first Federal Reserve interest-rate increase in almost a decade.
About three shares rose for every two that fell on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which traded little changed at 134.81 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo. Economists expect the October jobs report Friday to show an increase of 185,000 non-farm workers, compared with a 142,000 gain the previous month. Federal Reserve officials from Chair Janet Yellen to Atlanta chief Dennis Lockhart underlined this week that the central bank is still data dependent. The prospect of higher U.S. borrowing costs this year has muddied the rally in global stocks from last quarter’s selloff, with central banks in Japan and the euro area remaining coy over whether they’ll bolster stimulus.
Japan’s Topix index added 0.3 percent as the yen held four days of losses against the dollar. South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.6 percent. New Zealand’s S&P NZX 50 Index was little changed. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading.