Australia and Japan Lead Asian Equities Lower

Japanese and Australian stocks moved lower early on Friday, in a session of cautious trading ahead of the U.S. labor report.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls for April, to be released later Friday, will provide a reading on the health of the world’s largest economy. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal forecast that the measure grew strongly, and better-than-expected private sector employment data on Wednesday have raised hopes for a positive surprise.

The Nikkei fell 0.3%, as Tokyo was about to enter a long weekend, with investors taking profit after the index jumped 1.3% on Thursday–its best percentage gain in two weeks. Stocks were little influenced by the yen, which was steady against the dollar in Asian trade–last at ¥102.32 to the dollar.  Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi was down less than 0.1% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was 0.3% lower.

WSJ

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