HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed in cautious trading on Tuesday as investors awaited the release of delayed US September jobs data later in the day.
The dollar edged up against the yen, returning to its upward trend, after this month’s Washington standoff over the debt ceiling and budget had sent investors running to the Japanese unit.
Tokyo rose 0.13 percent, or 19.68 points to 14,713.25, thanks to the weakening yen, while Sydney climbed 0.40 percent, or 21.3 points to 5,373.1. Seoul added 0.15 percent, or 3.11 points to end at 2,056.12.
However, Shanghai fell 0.83 percent, or 18.59 points to end at 2,210.65, and Hong Kong lost 0.52 percent, or 122.16 points to end at 23,315.99
“Market participation levels are likely to remain low until data can help confirm the state of the US economic recovery,” said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities.
With last week’s global rally—fueled by the US deal to reopen the government after 16 days and avert a devastating default—out of the way, attention has turned back to economic numbers, with the nonfarm payrolls figures in focus.
They had been due out at the beginning of the month but were put off because of the US government shutdown. Traders will pore over them for clues about the state of the US economy.
However, Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management, said that there would likely be a cautious reaction to a strong report because it predates the shutdown, which likely depressed hiring.
She added that if jobs growth misses expectations, “the dollar could be in even more trouble because October payrolls are expected to be much weaker.”
Economists said that there is a good chance the US Federal Reserve will delay winding down its stimulus program—which depressed the value of the dollar—until possibly the new year.
On currency markets, the dollar was changing hands at 98.34 yen in the afternoon compared with 98.15 yen in New York City on Monday, while the euro fetched $1.3674 and 134.49 yen compared with 1.3681 and 134.26 yen.
Wall Street was unable to provide a strong lead as investors took a breather after last week’s strong gains.
The Dow was flat and the S&P 500 edged up marginally to another record high, while the tech-rich Nasdaq added 0.15 percent.