European shares mostly up after Asian stocks fall

MANILA, Philippines – Most European shares were up in early trading while Asian indices finished mostly down Friday following a plunge in oil prices overnight. Investors also are awaiting the release of U.S. inflation and June non-farm payrolls data later in the day.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 edged down 0.2 per cent at 6,518.25. Germany’s DAX rose 0.6 per cent at 9,477.85. France’s CAC 40 was up 0.3 per cent at 4,130.41. U.S. futures indicate muted opening on Wall Street, with the Dow and S&P futures nearly flat.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 1.1 per cent down at 15,106.98. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.7 per cent at 20,564.17. China’s Shanghai Compose index fell nearly 1 per cent to 2,988.09. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged up 0.1 per cent at 5,230.50. South Korea’s KOSPI lost 0.6 per cent at 1953.10. Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “After last week’s huge gains in stock markets, we could see this week ending with mild losses,” said IG market strategist Bernard Aw. He added that energy-related shares are likely to be under pressure as concerns about oil demand triggered a dramatic fall of crude oil prices Thursday. Investors remained cautious ahead of the release later in the day of the June U.S. nonfarm payrolls, where they will be looking to see if the dismal number in May is an anomaly or the start of a weakening job market, he said.

U.S. ECONOMY: With the U.S. and global economic outlook unusually cloudy, Friday’s jobs report for June will produce one of the most anticipated economic figures of the year. The report will show the job growth and the unemployment rate for last month. The U.K.’s “Brexit” vote occurred June 23, too late in the month to have had an impact on the U.S. employment figures. Still, the data will provide some critical insight into the U.S. economy’s health. Analysts have forecast that employers added a solid 180,000 jobs last month, according to FactSet, an information service. The unemployment rate is expected to tick up to a still very low 4.8 per cent from 4.7 per cent.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 32 cents to $45.47. On Thursday, it lost $2.29 or 4.8 per cent, to $45.14 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 27 cents at $46.67. It shed $2.40, or 4.9 per cent, to $46.40 a barrel in London on Thursday. The price of oil fell Thursday after the EIA said crude oil inventories shrank by 2.2 million barrels last week. Analysts expected a bigger drop of 2.6 million barrels, according to S&P Global Platts. Inventories have been at historically high levels lately as the supply of oil outstrips demand.

CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 100.64 yen from 100.76 yen the previous day. The euro rose to $1.1072 from $1.1055 on Thursday.