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Asian shares mostly up ahead of US jobs report

Hang Seng

Hang Seng climbed 1% to 18,301.11, S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7% to 7,637.00, Kospi inched up 0.2%, and Taiex rose 0.8%

Asian shares were mostly up on Friday ahead of a report on the U.S. jobs market, while several major markets including Tokyo and Shanghai were shut for holidays.

Oil prices and U.S. futures gained.

The Japanese yen firmed marginally against the U.S. dollar amid signs of heavy central bank intervention to tamp down the U.S. dollar’s gain.

The financial newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that estimates showed the BoJ spending an around 8 trillion yen (around $50 billion) this week in trying to keep the yen from sliding further against the dollar.

While a weak yen can be a boon to Japanese firms that earn much of their revenues overseas, significant shifts in the foreign exchange market can play havoc with corporate planning and a sharply weaker yen also boosts costs for imports of oil and other vital commodities.

The dollar was trading at 153.08 early Friday, down from 153.65 late Thursday. The euro advanced to $1.0732 from $1.0727.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1% to 18,301.11, tracking gains on Wall Street. News of fresh moves by Chinese leaders to boost the economy helped drive buying of technology shares.

E-commerce giant Alibaba jumped 3.5% and rival was up 4.2%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7% to 7,637.00 and the Kospi in Seoul inched up 0.2%. Taiwan’s Taiex rose 0.8%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 advanced 0.9% to 5,064.20 a day after swinging sharply when the Fed said it’s likely delaying cuts to interest rates but not planning to hike them. It more than halved its decline for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.9% to 38,225.66, and the Nasdaq composite climbed 1.5%, to 15,840.96.

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