Asia-Pacific Markets Trade Lower Ahead of U.S. Jobs Report

Toru Hanai | Bloomberg via Getty Images

This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

Asia-Pacific shares were mixed on Friday as investors look ahead to the U.S. jobs report for August, a key indicator before the Federal Reserve's next interest rate decision later this month.

South Korea's consumer price index rose slower than expected 5.7% in August from the same period a year ago, less than the 6.1% predicted by analysts in a Reuters poll.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan was almost flat at 27,650.84, while the Topix index was down 0.27% at 1,930.17. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.66% in the final hour of trade and the Hang Seng Tech index dropped 1.28%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.25% down at 6,828.70. The Kospi in South Korea lost 0.26% to 2,409.41 and the Kosdaq declined 0.31% to 785.88.

Mainland China's Shanghai Composite rose fractionally to 3,186.48 and the Shenzhen Component was slightly lower at 11,702.39.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.52% lower.

U.S. crude and Brent crude extended gains in afternoon trade, rising more than 2% each.

Economists predict that 318,000 jobs were added in August, fewer than the 528,000 jobs added in July, according to Dow Jones. Unemployment is forecast to be unchanged at 3.5%.

"All focus today is on Payrolls later tonight where the [whisper] number is for a stronger than expected print, which would add to the argument for a 75bp hike in September," Tapas Strickland, an economist at the National Australia Bank, wrote in a note Friday.

Overnight in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 145.99 points, around 0.5%, to 31,656.42. The S&P 500 added 0.3% to 3,966.85, and the Nasdaq Composite slipped about 0.3%, to 11,785.13.

— CNBC's Patti Domm, Sarah Min and Tanaya Macheel contributed to this report.

There is a 'very high possibility' that the oil price cap fails, says energy research firm

There is a "very high possibility" of failure for the proposed price cap on Russian oil, said Claudio Galimberti, senior vice president of analysis at Rystad Energy, adding that something like that has never been done before.

"I don't recall [anyone], in living memory, attempting anything like this," he told CNBC's "Capital Connection."

"So [there is] a very high possibility that it could fail," said Galimberti.

The Group of Seven countries plans to put a cap on Russia's oil prices to reduce funds flowing into Moscow's war chest, with the hope of bringing down the cost of oil for consumers.

Galimberti raised additional concerns that not all energy importers will cooperate.

"It remains to be seen if all the oil-importing countries — and China is the largest one — are going to abide," he said. "They may decide that for geopolitical reasons they do not want to abide by rules set by the West. If that occurs, then the price cap would most likely fail."

Russia has said that it won't sell oil to countries that impose a cap on its oil.

— Lee Ying Shan

Oil rises as G-7 finance chiefs reportedly set to advance Russian oil price cap plan

Oil prices rose further in Asia's afternoon on a report that of G-7 finance ministers are expected to advance a plan to set a price cap on Russian oil.

Reuters reported that an unnamed European G-7 official said "a deal is likely," adding the extent of the specifics that will be publicized remains unclear.

Brent crude futures rose 2.22% to $94.41 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 2.47% to $88.75 a barrel.

Prices also climbed earlier in the session ahead of an OPEC+ meeting slated to take place Sept. 5.

—Jihye Lee

Macao casino stocks slightly up after gaming revenue slumps 50% in August

Macao casino stocks listed in Hong Kong rose slightly after its gaming industry reported a 50.7% drop in gaming revenue compared to a year earlier, an improvement compared to the 95.3% drop reported for July.

Casino stocks were marginally up — MGM China traded 1.27% higher, Wynn Macau was up 1.07%, Sands China was up 0.47% and Galaxy Entertainment also gained 0.7%.

Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Vitaly Umansky said he expects to see more visitors in coming months, but it'll take longer for the industry to fully recover to levels before the pandemic.

"It's a year-plus type of recovery, and we're not likely to get back to pre-Covid levels until well into the end of next year, until early 2024," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia."

"Everything really hinges on the ability of China to restart travel into Macao," he said.

— Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: These outperforming stocks could be safe bets right now

Market volatility is on the rise, as fears mount that further interest hike rates to tackle inflation could come at the expense of economic growth. And there could be more pain ahead as the stock market now enters into what has traditionally been a "seasonally weak" period for equities.

But these low-volatility stocks have outperformed the market this year, and could have further upside ahead, according to analysts.

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— Zavier Ong

Chinese EV stocks fall in Hong Kong trade after Li Auto, Xpeng deliveries decline in August

Hong Kong-listed Chinese electric vehicle stocks slipped in Asia's morning trade after Li Auto and Xpeng said their deliveries fell in August.

Xpeng shares dropped more than 4.5% and Li Auto declined 1%. Both start-ups reported monthly and yearly declines in vehicle deliveries for August. Their U.S.-listed shares slumped overnight.

Nio shares in Hong Kong slipped 1.8% after its shares listed in the U.S. lost more than 5%.

The company's August deliveries jumped 81.6% from the same period last year, and grew 6% from July.

— Abigail Ng, Arjun Kharpal

Mizuho says latest CPI data won't derail Bank of Korea's path

Despite prices in South Korea growing at a slower pace in August, inflation is still elevated and will not derail the Bank of Korea's "narrowing path to hike policy rates further," said Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank.

Tan said the BOK's recent increase in core inflation projections supports such moves as well. The central bank recently upgraded its forecasts to 5.2% in 2022 and 3.7% in 2023.

"This [latest] print supports BOK's signaling that continued hikes are seen as warranted, as Governor Rhee [Chang Yong] highlighted that base rate should rise above the upper range of neutral if inflation remains high," he added.

— Abigail Ng

K-pop stocks rise after new ETF launch in the U.S.

South Korean entertainment stocks rose after a K-pop ETF started trading in the U.S. overnight.

JYP Entertainment was up 3.69% and BTS' agency Hybe was up 3.9%.

YG Entertainment, the agency of BlackPink, traded 1.2% higher, while entertainment company CJ ENM was up 0.84%.

Pro subscribers can read more about the ETF here.

—Jihye Lee, Jesse Pound

CNBC Pro: Wall Street pros issue warning on stocks. Here's what they say to buy instead

It's time to get out of stocks, some analysts have urged this week.

"We ... now believe the absolute return outlook for equities is outright unattractive in the coming months," Credit Suisse's Global Chief Investment Officer Michael Strobaek said in a note.

Here's what the pros say to buy instead, including the "best asset to own" during this stage of the investment cycle, according to Goldman Sachs.

Pro subscribers can read the story here.

— Weizhen Tan

Economists looking for slowed hiring in August jobs report

The August jobs report is due Friday morning from the Bureau of Labor statistics, and is the latest piece of economic data investors and the Federal Reserve will have to gauge the strength of the U.S. economy.

Economists expect that the economy added 318,000 jobs in August, according to Dow Jones. That's less than the surprisingly strong 528,000 jobs added in July, according to Dow Jones. In addition, the unemployment rate is expected to stay steady at 3.5% and average hourly wages are forecast to rise 0.4%, or 5.3% on the year.

The report is an important one as it's one of the last pieces of data the Fed will see before its September meeting, where it is set to raise its benchmark interest rate again.

Click here to read more.

—Carmen Reinicke, Patti Domm

Japanese yen hovers near 140 against the dollar, weakest since 1998

The Japanese yen weakened past 140 against the U.S. dollar overnight, its softest since 1998. The currency hit 140.25 per dollar early in Asia.

The dollar index strengthened to a 20-year high on the back of a government report showing a decline in new claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S.

The yen slightly strengthened to 139.96 against the greenback in Asia's morning trade.

— Jihye Lee

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