Asia Shares Rise in Muted Session as Most Markets Closed for Holiday

As most markets in the Asia-Pacific region are closed for holidays on Friday, a quiet day saw stocks rise in Tokyo and Seoul.

As of 9.20 A.M. Bangkok time, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.1%. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 1.29%. 

Australia, Hong Kong, and mainland China are closed.

Friday’s report on nonfarm payrolls in the United States will be closely watched by investors since it could indicate the Federal Reserve’s future course of action. This comes after an ADP report this week indicated slower-than-anticipated expansion of private payrolls in the US in March.

For the first time in over two years, the number of open jobs dropped below 10 million in February, according to a Labor Department data released this week. Layoffs have also increased by a factor of nearly five this year compared to the same period last year.

Tech firms like Google’s parent company Alphabet and Microsoft drove a 0.76 point increase in the Nasdaq Composite on Thursday, helping push overall stock prices higher. The S&P 500 recovered some of its earlier losses and ended up higher by 0.36%, but it still had its first losing week in four. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up by 0.01%.

Samsung Electronics announced output cuts for its computer memory chips on Friday, likely in an effort to reduce inventories ahead of another quarter of slow profit.

The South Korean tech giant said in its recent earnings outlook on Friday that it expects its operating profit for the first quarter to fall to 600 billion won ($455 million). That’s a drop of 95.7% compared to the 14.12 trillion won operational profit recorded in the same quarter of 2022.