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Asia: Stocks mixed on new trade move; yen rises

[SYDNEY] Asian equities were mixed, while US stock futures slid and the yen rose after President Donald Trump ordered his administration to consider tariffs on an additional US$100 billion worth of Chinese imports, dashing investor optimism that trade tensions could ease with negotiations on the horizon.

Japanese shares nudged higher, while South Korean equities dropped. Futures on the S&P 500 Index declined following three days of gains for the underlying cash index that were driven in part by comments from White House officials indicating talks were in the offing between the world's top two economies.

Chinese markets are shut for a holiday.

Crude oil prices dropped and gold rose. Treasuries recovered from recent losses.

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Ten-year Treasury yields on Thursday had popped above 2.83 per cent ahead of the March US employment report, which will feed into the outlook for Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes. Analysts remain divided on whether two or three more increases in the benchmark policy target are coming by year-end.

Here are some key events for the remainder of this week:

On Friday, America publishes non-farm payrolls and an employment report; the jobless rate was forecast to have fallen in March after holding at 4.1 per cent for five straight months.

STOCKS

Japan's Topix index added 0.1 per cent as of 9.10am in Tokyo.

South Korea's Kospi fell 0.7 per cent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.2 per cent.

Futures on the S&P 500 were down 1.2 per cent with volume about five times the average for this time of day. The underlying gauge rose 0.7 per cent Thursday.

CURRENCIES

The euro rose 0.1 per cent to US$1.2249.

The yen was at 107.12 per US dollar, up 0.3 per cent Friday.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after advancing Thursday.

The offshore yuan was down 0.2 per cent.

BONDS

The yield on 10-year Treasuries slid two basis points to 2.81 per cent.

Yields on 10-year Australian government bonds were steady at 2.66 per cent.

COMMODITIES

West Texas Intermediate crude declined 0.6 per cent to US$63.15 a barrel.

Gold gained 0.3 per cent to US$1,330.87 an ounce.

BLOOMBERG