World stocks slip ahead of US jobs data

World stock markets were mostly lower Friday ahead of U.S. employment data that will give a big clue to the robustness of the recovery in the world’s No. 1 economy.

By (AP)

Published: Fri 4 May 2012, 4:47 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:54 PM

Investor nerves were tested earlier this week when a private survey showed U.S. businesses adding far fewer jobs in April than they did in March. Later Friday, the U.S. government will weigh in with its own figures for monthly hiring.

“People are already in defense positions and are happy to stay there. Turnover has been light. There is no panic taking place, but people remain very defensive,” said Andrew Sullivan, principal sales trader at Piper Jaffray in Hong Kong.

European shares fell in early trading, mirroring movement in Asia.

Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.6 percent to 5,731.04. Germany’s DAX lost 0.9 percent to 6,636.92 and France’s CAC-40 shed 0.9 percent at 3,196.39.

U.S. stocks were headed for a lower opening, with Dow Jones industrial futures down 0.1 percent to 13,131 while S&P 500 futures slipped marginally to 1,385.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8 percent to 21,086 and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.3 percent to 1,989.15. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.8 percent to 4,396.

Benchmarks in Singapore, New Zealand and Indonesia fell. Markets in Japan were closed for a public holiday.

Mainland Chinese shares rose, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index up 0.5 percent at 2,452.01 and the Shenzhen Composite Index adding 1.1 percent to 972.30.

Investors are also holding off major moves ahead of the French presidential election runoff Sunday, said Sullivan.

Polls suggest that France’s presidential election on Sunday will be won by Socialist contender Francois Hollande, and that may lead to a different emphasis in Europe’s ongoing struggle to deal with its massive debt problems.

“Markets don’t like change,” Sullivan said. “There is quite a lot of risk in there that will upset the apple cart.”

Among individual stocks, Australian flagship airline Qantas Airways slid 1.2 percent after saying it will cut spending next financial year by delaying delivery of new A380 aircraft.

Korean Air Lines Co. jumped 5.5 percent and Taiwan’s EVA Airways Corp. 4.2 percent as softening oil prices helped boost profit outlooks in an industry highly sensitive to fuel costs.

Hong Kong-listed Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. fell 1.8 percent after the company said a corruption probe involving Chairmen Raymond and Thomas Kwok had widened to their estranged brother, Walter Kwok, who was arrested and released on bail late Thursday. Walter Kwok, a former CEO and chairman of Sun Hung, is still a director of the company.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 88 cents to $101.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.68 to settle at $102.54 in New York on Thursday.

The dollar fell to 80.15 yen from 80.29 yen late Thursday in New York. The euro was fell to $1.3130 from $1.3151.

More news from