Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended 1.2% lower at 5052.02, following a patchy performance overnight in USA markets.
The China Enterprises Index, which tracks Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong, climbed 3 percent to 9,686.64, lifted by a 13 percent jump in shares of Great Wall Motor after China cut taxes on small cars.
The mixed close reflected the uncertainty ahead of the release of today’s closely watched monthly jobs report – which could have a significant impact on whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this month.
“China is likely to roll out new policies in the fourth quarter”, said Hao Hong, chief China strategist at Bocom global Holdings Co in Hong Kong. The S&P 500, the most widely used measure of USA investments, has lost 8 percent in three months.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “When it comes to China these days, as long as the figures are not awful they are deemed to be respectable, and while the market is closed for the holidays it will entice buyers back into the mix”, said David Madden, market analyst at IG.
MSCI index for Asia-Pacific was moving down in the quarter ending September as it reached its lowest level since June 2012.
Japan’s Topix index retreated 0.6 percent. Bank of Japan officials see little need for an immediate expansion of monetary stimulus and would prefer to hold off to get a clearer picture of the economic outlook, according to people familiar with their deliberations.
Japan’s Nikkei stock index was down 0.8 percent, poised to shed 1.7 percent for the week. Indian markets were also closed.
The U.S. dollar was trading 0.1 percent marginally lower in forex market. Economists expect USA employers to have added about 201,000 workers in September after a gain of 173,000 in August. The jobless rate is expected to stay put at 5.1%. The precious metal has slumped 3 per cent this week as investors await the jobs report for clues as to the Fed’s policy plans. The ringgit has been Asia’s worst performing currency in recent months because of the country’s exposure to falling commodity prices and a continuing political scandal.
Treasuries were little changed for a second day as traders waited for the payrolls report.
In contrast, gold prices reversed course and climbed more than 2.2 percent to last trade at $1,282.80 an ounce, its biggest percentage jump since mid-January.
In January, news of Li’s business overhaul was followed by three bids overseas, including one worth $15.4 billion for British telecom services provider O2, which is owned by Telefonica SA in Spain.