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Asia: Markets track record lead from Wall Street, focus on jobs

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[HONG KONG] Asian markets rose on Thursday, tracking a record performance on Wall Street, as investors turned their focus to the upcoming release of US jobs data while hoping for a big Federal Reserve interest rate cut.

US traders went on a pre-July 4 spending spree Wednesday to push all three main indexes to their all-time highs as a string of weak economic indicators reinforced the case for the Fed to reduce borrowing costs.

With the relief-rally from Donald Trump and Xi Jinping's trade war ceasefire running its course, dealers were turning their attention to the global outlook and pinning their hopes on central bank support.

The release Friday of US non-farm payroll figures is key, analysts say, with a weak reading likely to reinforce expectations of a rate cut.

Talk of a reduction and concerns about the economy have seen the yield on safe haven 10-year Treasuries fall below two percent

"A lot of US economic data is wavering, as most key indicators are falling below trend, but the recent standouts have been labour and wage data," said Oanda senior market analyst Edward Moya.

"If the pillars of the economy begin to show some signs of weakness, this will disrupt the US consumer and support the calls for the Fed to cut in July and signal an additional one is on the way."

DOLLAR DIPS

In early Asian business, Hong Kong was up 0.5 per cent, Shanghai added 0.1 per cent, Tokyo climbed 0.3 per cent by the break and Sydney jumped 0.6 per cent.

Singapore was up 0.3 per cent, Wellington added 0.2 per cent and Taipei was 0.4 per cent stronger though Seoul was marginally lower.

Stephen Innes, at Vanguard Markets, said the fall in yields across several asset classes "has increased investor appetite for high dividend-yielding equity risk".

Investors were "hoping that this next wave central bank monetary infusion will provide a foundation to ensure the global cyclical bottom is set while offering a welcoming climate to extend this bullish trading cycle," he said.

The increasing likelihood of a Fed cut weighed on the dollar, with riskier currencies such as the South Korean won, Australian dollar and Indonesian rupiah all strengthening.

The Chinese yuan was also slightly higher.

However, Mr Trump hit out at China on Wednesday in a Twitter rant, accusing it and Europe of artificially keeping the yuan and euro weak to gain an advantage over the US.

He said they were playing a "big currency manipulation game" and "pumping money into their system", adding that the US should step up to the fight by matching them.

AFP