Australian shares are set to open higher, after a mixed session on Wall Street.

ASX futures were up 0.2% or 18 points as of 8:00am on Friday, suggesting a higher open.

U.S. stocks ended narrowly mixed, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite edging down from record closes, as investors await the May payrolls report.

DJIA gained 78 points, or 0.2%, to 38,886, while the S&P 500 fell 1 point to 5,352 and the Nasdaq slipped 0.1% to 17,173.

In commodity markets, Brent crude oil was up 2.0% to US$80.01 a barrel, while gold was up 0.9% at US$2,376.06.

In local bond markets, the yield on Australian 2 Year government bonds was down at 3.98% while the 10 Year yield was also down at 4.22%. US Treasury notes were mixed, with the 2 Year yield unchanged at 4.72% and the 10 Year yield up at 4.29%.

The Australian dollar was unchanged at 66.64 US cents, up from its previous close of 66.45. The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the US dollar against 16 other currencies, was down at 99.06.


Chinese shares closed lower, weighed by retail and software stocks. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5% to 3,048.79, the Shenzhen Composite Index declined 1.7% and the ChiNext Price Index closed 0.7% lower. The market is focusing on China's trade data for May due Friday for clues on the strength of the domestic economy. CCOOP Group fell 6.5% and Kingsoft dropped 0.8%. Gainers included SMIC, which rose 1.5% and Midea Group, which gained 2.9%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed 0.3% higher at 18,476.80, led by tech and manufacturing stocks. Buying momentum appears to be continuing, as U.S. economic data started to show weakness the past week, reaffirming hopes for earlier rate cuts from the Federal Reserve, the Saxo APAC research team writes in a commentary. Among advancers, Alibaba Health Information Technology rose 6.5%, SMIC gained 5.6% and Sunny Optical Technology was 4.4% higher. Among decliners, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group lost 4.7%, Longfor Group fell 3.6% and China Resources Land was 2.4% lower.

Japanese stocks end higher, led by gains in electronics and financial stocks, as signs of U.S. economic weakness raise hopes for the Fed's potential rate cuts later this year. Advantest gains 3.9% and Daiwa Securities Group advances 2.7%. The Nikkei Stock Average rises 0.6% to 38,703.51. The 10-year Japanese government bond yield falls 4.5 basis points to 0.955%. Economic data are in focus. The European Central Bank is expected to lower its policy rate later in the day, following Bank of Canada's rate cut on Wednesday.

Indian shares closed higher, recovering from weakness earlier this week after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party lost its majority in parliament. The local equities market remains somewhat bullish, thanks to the bright outlook for the country's economy and relatively low political risk among emerging markets, Capital Economics senior markets economist Thomas Matthews writes in a note.Zee Entertainment was up 4.4% after the company said it plans to raise up to INR20.00 billion by issuing equity and other securities. State Bank of India and Infosys were up 3.5% and 2.95%, respectively. Almost all sectors are in the green. Nestle India lost 1.4% and Axis Bank fell 1.1%. The benchmark Sensex ended 0.9 higher at 75,074.51.


Stocks in the U.K. rose Thursday, as the FTSE 100 Index gained 0.5% to 8,285.34.

Among large companies, John Wood Group PLC was the biggest gainer during the session, surging 8.0%, and Alpha Group International PLC surged 6.5%. Alphawave IP Group PLC rounded out the top three movers on Thursday, as shares surged 6.3%.

YouGov PLC posted the largest decline, dropping 5.9%, followed by shares of Indivior PLC, which fell 5.0%. Shares of Bridgepoint Group PLC fell 3.7%.

In Europe, shares closed higher, with the STOXX Europe 600 Index adding 0.7% to 524.68, Germany's DAX rising 0.4% to 18,652.67 and France's CAC 40 also up 0.4% to 8,040.12.

North America

The S&P 500 slipped from its latest record Thursday, dragged slightly lower by a pullback in technology stocks.

Two of the index's largest stocks, both in the tech sector, traded lower. Nvidia declined 1.2% a day after becoming the third U.S. company with a market value above $3 trillion, while Apple fell 0.7%.

Gains in other areas limited the damage. Consumer stocks advanced, helped by big moves in shares of Lululemon Athletica and J.M. Smucker. The communication services group rose, pushed higher by Google parent Alphabet.

All in all, the S&P 500 dropped less than 0.1%, snapping a four-session winning streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2%, or about 79 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.1% after notching its own record Wednesday.

The broad U.S. stock index swung between small gains and losses in the morning before turning lower in afternoon trading. It then pared its losses to end the day nearly flat.

Traders might have been reluctant to make big bets ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report, some analysts said. The data could provide fresh clues about the strength of the economy and the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will begin to cut interest rates soon. The central bank's rate-setting committee is scheduled to meet next week.

"Investors are in a wait and see mode," said Venkat Balakrishnan, head of asset allocation at MissionSquare Retirement. "They want to understand the job and wage trends to assess the impact on inflation and rates."

Stocks have rallied in 2024 even as investors have dialed back their expectations for multiple rate cuts. Data has suggested that the economy remains resilient, easing fears that the Fed's campaign to tame inflation would result in a painful contraction.

The S&P 500 is up 12% this year, while the Nasdaq is up 14%.

"The biggest factor is an economy coming off of a rapid boil and settling more into a steady simmer," said Carol Schleif, chief investment officer at BMO Family Office. "It didn't fall off the cliff. It surprised many pundits by not falling into recession."

Earnings reports and corporate announcements drove moves in individual stocks.

Lululemon shares gained 4.8% after the maker of yoga pants unveiled better-than-expected results and announced a $1 billion increase to its share-buyback program.

J.M. Smucker shares popped 4.6% after the maker of Folgers coffee and Jif peanut butter beat earnings expectations. Five Below shares slumped 11% after the discount retailer cut its profit forecasts.

In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note dropped for a sixth consecutive trading day to 4.280%, from 4.289% on Wednesday. That marked its longest stretch of declines since April 2023.