RBA monetary policy statement, US jobs report, coronavirus in focus

Stocks in Asia were set to trade higher on Friday after the Nasdaq Composite recovered from its losses for the year overnight.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 19,840 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 19,760. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 19,674.77.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were also set to open higher. The SPI futures contract was at 5,373, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,364.20.

Investors will await the release of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s statement on monetary policy, set to be around 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Nasdaq Composite closed 1.4% higher at 8,979.66, leaving it up nearly 0.1% for the year — erasing all its losses for 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed higher on Thursday by 211.25 points, or 0.9%, at 23,875.89. The S&P 500 gained 1.2% to close at 2,881.19.

Thursday marked the first time one of the major averages stateside was up year to date since the coronavirus pandemic led to the closure of nonessential businesses, sparking massive layoffs and a historic market sell-off. 

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.889 after slipping below the 100 mark earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.30 per dollar after strengthening from levels around 107 seen earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6498 after rising sharply from levels below $0.642 yesterday.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap for Friday:

  • Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia monetary policy statement at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN
  • U.S.: Nonfarm payrolls report for April at 8:30 p.m. HK/SIN

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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