Asian Equities Lower after Poor U.S. Lead

Asian shares edged down in early trading on Friday, on track for a weekly loss, while U.S. jobs data underpinned the dollar as it bolstered bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve is on track to hike interest rates later this year.  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down about 0.2 percent in early trading, on course for a weekly loss over 1 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index .N225 dipped 0.3 percent.  On tap for investors is the Markit Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which will provide the latest clue to the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

“The consensus forecast is for a move higher, from 49.4 to 49.7. As an activity index, it should be more resilient than recent sentiment indicators, which have been affected by the volatility in equities,” Sean Callow, senior strategist at Westpac, said in a note.  While Beijing’s support steps appear to have halted this month’s stock market rout, some fear that fragile investor sentiment could drag on the financial services sector and weigh down the economy in the coming months.

Reuters

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