Asian Stocks Snap Six-Day Rise Ahead of U.S. Jobs Report

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Asian stocks dropped, snapping a six-day advance and paring the regional benchmark index’s biggest weekly gain since July, as investors await the monthly American jobs report.

Sumitomo Realty & Development Co. sank 2.7 percent as Japanese developers retreated ahead of a decision this weekend on whether Tokyo will host the 2020 Olympics. SoftBank Corp. (9984) fell 2.6 percent after competitor NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s largest mobile-phone carrier, was said to be near an agreement to offer Apple Inc.’s iPhone. BBMG Corp., a cement company, rose 5.3 percent in Hong Kong after announcing a share sale.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.3 percent to 132.88 as of 9:46 a.m. in Hong Kong, on course to rise 2.1 percent this week for the biggest advance since July 12. U.S. payrolls figures today may add to signs of an improving jobs market ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Sept. 17-18 meeting, when it will gauge whether the world’s biggest economy is strong enough to withstand a reduction in unprecedented stimulus.

The jobs data today “is a very important number because it is the number that Fed policy is benchmarked against,” Peter Esho, chief market analyst at Invast Securities Co., said by phone. “A discussion around employment is going to drive the outcome of the Fed’s meeting later this month.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.2 percent and Japan’s Topix index slid 0.8 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was little changed and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.3 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index and South Korea’s Kospi index gained 0.1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.2 percent.

Australian Election

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) slid 0.4 percent ahead of tomorrow’s election, which polls indicate will see Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s minority Labor government lose to Tony Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 3 percent this year through yesterday, trailing a 16 percent surge on the S&P 500. Benchmark gauges in Hong Kong and Singapore posted two of the three biggest declines among developed markets amid concern about China’s slowdown, while the region’s emerging markets were roiled by outflows as investors dumped risk assets.

Speculation the Federal Open Market Committee will dial down bond purchases at its meeting this month has pushed up U.S. bond yields and contributed to the worst rout in the currencies of developing nations in five years.

Claims (INJCJC) for U.S. unemployment benefits declined by 9,000 to 323,000 in the week ended Aug. 31, less than the lowest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Another report showed companies boosted employment by 176,000 workers in August, according to the ADP Research Institute.

Payrolls Forecast

The number of workers on nonfarm payrolls in the U.S. probably increased 180,000 in August, compared with a gain of 162,000 for July, according to the median of 94 economists’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Japan’s Topix climbed 35 percent this year through yesterday, the best performer among developed markets tracked by Bloomberg, amid optimism Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan can lead the country out of deflation with stimulus and reforms.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 6.5 percent this year through yesterday. Slower growth this year was a conscious choice by the government to allow it to adjust the nation’s economic structure, President Xi Jinping said Sept. 3.

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