Tokyo: Asian stock markets fell on Friday as a strong yen dragged on Japanese shares and uncertainty clouded sentiment ahead of a key US jobs report due later in the day.
The Nikkei 225 stock average fell 0.4 % to 9,640.58 after the Japanese currency hit a new 15-year-high against the dollar. The dollar fell to ¥82.12 at one point Thursday in New York.
South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.5% to 1,892.06, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.4 % at 4,669.80.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2% to close at 10,948.58.
Slightly better news on claims for US unemployment insurance gave stocks there an early lift, but the gains faded quickly as traders opted for caution ahead of Friday’s employment report from the Labor Department, the most crucial piece of news on the economic calendar.
The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.2% to 1,158.06, while the Nasdaq composite rose 0.1% to 2,383.67.
Gold, which is considered a safe alternative to the dollar, hit another record of $1,366.00 an ounce early Thursday before pulling back to $1,335.00.
In currencies, the dollar was trading at 82.34 yen from ¥82.30 late Thursday. The euro held steady at $1.3917.