Employees work in the trading room at the Daiwa Securities Group Inc. headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.
Toru Hanai | Bloomberg | Getty Images
SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets were set to trade lower on Thursday amid some lingering concerns about global growth and ongoing geopolitical tensions.
In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 0.52% in early trade as most sectors traded lower. Shares of major miners, however, rose as Rio Tinto advanced 0.55%, Fortescue was up 0.98% and BHP added 1.18%.
Nikkei futures pointed to a slightly lower open in Japan, where the benchmark index rose 1.68% in the previous session.
A number of major markets, including those on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong, remain shut for the Lunar New Year holidays.
Thursday’s session in Asia followed overnight gains on Wall Street, which were driven by a jump in tech shares.
On the data front, traders will watch the U.S. Labor Department’s nonfarm payroll count due Friday, which is seen as one of the major indicators of the how the U.S. economy is doing.
Some estimates suggest that January’s payroll figure could have potentially slowed to a crawl, or even turned negative — data from payroll processing firm ADP showed that companies subtracted 301,000 jobs during the month, largely due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases and a wider slowdown in business conditions.
“That drop followed a weak initial claims report for the labour market survey week in January, and has resulted in a wave of downward revisions for Friday’s official nonfarm payrolls release, which is now widely expected to show a negative number,” analysts at ANZ Research wrote on a Thursday morning note.
“Omicron is to blame,” they said, adding, “However, with confirmed COVID cases falling sharply, a bounce-back in jobs is expected in February/March.”
Currencies and oil
— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.