Asia stocks

Asian Stocks Gain on Tech Surge Ahead of US Nonfarm Payrolls

Asian stocks traded higher on Friday, with the tech sector taking the lead following better-than-expected quarterly earnings from US tech giant Apple Inc., but the surge was curbed by certain holidays in regional markets and upcoming nonfarm payrolls data.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.94%, while tech-heavy indices in the region fared strongly for the day.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.19% and was the top performer in Asia this week, as speculations of China easing property policies and injecting more stimulus in the sector sparked a rally among property developers’ shares.

South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 0.18%, whereas tech increases led Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index 0.59% higher.

Apple’s jump in after-market hours spread to its Asian suppliers on Friday as the Cupertino-based company reported earnings that ended above Wall Street expectations for the fiscal second quarter.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) Ltd. advanced 0.26%, while Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. added 1.62%.

The iPhone maker also estimated a percentage in the low single digits for revenue growth in the current quarter.

Apple’s stock was last trading 6.03% higher in after-hours.

Trading in broader Asian markets was mostly quiet due to the regional market holidays in Japan and China and uncertainty over the direction of interest rates in the US.

Markets Await US Nonfarm Payrolls for More Fed Rate Cues

Sentiment was also limited as markets await the release of the US’s April nonfarm payrolls later in the day for further cues on the Federal Reserve’s plans for interest rates.

Dow Jones forecasts hiring growth of 240,000 for the month, while the unemployment rate is seen unchanged at 3.8%.

Should the reading prove accurate, it would present a small retreat from the 276,000 jobs per month created so far this year. Nonfarm payrolls have consistently surpassed market consensus for the last five months amid the country’s strong labor market.

Such an increase may also reinforce the Fed’s hawkish stance, with the labor market progressing well and inflation remaining above the central bank’s 2.0% target.

Still, the Fed eased concerns over future rate hikes earlier this week. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said it is unlikely that their next policy move would be raising interest rates despite an ongoing sticky inflation.

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