SEOUL: Shares were higher in Europe and most of Asia on Friday as investors awaited the release later in the day of US employment data. A weaker yen lifted Tokyo’s benchmark and South Korea’s Kospi rose after the Constitutional Court decided to remove the country’s president for the first time in history.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX gained 0.4 percent to 12,020.04 and the CAC 40 of France added 0.3 percent to 4,995.51. The FTSE 100 in Britain climbed 0.4 percent to 7,345.07. Wall Street seemed headed for an upbeat start with both S&P 500 and Dow futures up 0.3 percent.
US JOBS: The US government is due to issue the February jobs report later Friday. Analysts have forecast that American employers added up to 200,000 jobs and the unemployment rate slipped to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent the month before.
The Federal Reserve will likely opt for faster rate hikes if it sees another month of strong labor data figures, said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.
ANALYST’S VIEWPOINT: The US non-farm payroll numbers are “the last piece of the puzzle which will determine the Fed’s rate hike decision next week,” said Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore.
IMPEACHED KOREAN LEADER: The announcement of the Constitutional Court’s unanimous decision to uphold the parliament’s impeachment of President Park Geun-hye was broadcast live across Asia.
The verdict clears the way for a presidential election in two months. Shares rose overall but EG Corp., a company owned by Park’s younger brother, fell as much as 20 percent, while other shares thought to be related to opposition party presidential contenders jumped.
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.5 percent to 19,604.61 as the dollar surged against the yen, favoring manufacturers. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,097.35.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.3 percent to 23,568.67 and the Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.1 percent lower to 3,212.76. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 5,775.60. Stocks in Taiwan fell and Southeast Asian benchmarks were mixed.
OIL: Benchmark US oil added 20 cents to $49.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1, or 2 percent, to close at $49.28 on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 32 cents to $52.51.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 115.41 yen from 114.96 yen. The euro rose to $1.0618 from $1.0577.