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Global stocks subdued ahead of US jobs report critical for Fed interest rate hike decision

TOKYO – Global shares were subdued Friday ahead of a U.S. jobs report that’s likely to influence whether the Federal Reserve raises interest rates in December.

KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.5 per cent to 4,957.87 in early trading and Germany’s DAX was down 0.3 per cent to 10,859.21. Britain’s FTSE 100 was little changed, down 0.03 per cent at 6,363.25. U.S. shares were set to drift lower. S&P 500 futures were down 0.1 per cent at 2.092,90 and Dow futures fell 0.1 per cent to 17,783.00.

JOBS REPORT: Analysts are forecasting that U.S. employers added 185,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 5.1 per cent in October. A solid report would suggest the world’s biggest economy is shrugging off slower growth overseas and will likely give the Fed confidence to raise short-term interest rates in December. Interest rates have been at record lows since the 2008 financial crisis. Testifying before a committee of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen described the U.S. economy as “performing well” and said an interest rate hike in December was a “live possibility.”

THE QUOTE: “U.S. jobs report is the key event risk today. Non-farm payroll, along with unemployment rate and wages, will get special attention,” said Cynthia Jane Kalasopatan at Mizuho Bank in Singapore in a report.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.8 per cent to 19,265.60 while South Korea’s Kospi inched fell 0.4 per cent to 2,041.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.8 per cent at 22,867.33. But the Shanghai Composite in mainland China jumped 1.9 per cent to 3,590.03. Other regional markets were mixed, rising in Australia and Thailand and falling in Taiwan and Singapore.

ENERGY: In energy markets, U.S. crude oil added 27 cents to $45.47 a barrel in electronic trading in New York. Brent crude, which is a benchmark for international oils, rose 8 cents to $48.06 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar was trading at 121.88 yen, up from 121.49 yen on Thursday. The euro slipped to $1.0878 from $1.0885.

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