HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside Japan advanced Friday as risk appetite remained upbeat ahead of a key U.S. jobs report.
The Nikkei Asia300 index rose 0.7% to 1,414.26, adding to yesterday's 1.8% jump.
Fading risks of a U.S.-Iran conflict and optimism around Sino-American trade continued to boost equities in Asia and elsewhere. The S&P 500 Index continued its good run to post fresh record highs yesterday as President Donald Trump backed away from a military conflict with Iran. Confirmation by China on Thursday that Vice Premier Liu He will be in Washington next week for the signing of an interim trade deal further helped equities.
Trump had previously indicated that the trade deal would be signed on Jan. 15 but yesterday was the first official confirmation by Beijing.
The U.S. and China reached a limited trade deal last month that involved more agricultural purchases and suspension of planned tariffs. Talks for a more comprehensive agreement are expected to begin soon, Trump said yesterday, but indicated that he may wait till after the U.S. elections for the deal.
Meanwhile, data to be released later Friday is expected to show that U.S. employers added 164,000 jobs last month. Average earnings growth is pegged at 0.3% month-on-month and the unemployment rate at multiyear lows of 3.5%, according to a median forecast of economists polled by Reuters.
The headline job creation number is scrutinized closely to gauge the health of the U.S. economy and wage growth provides cues on underlying inflationary pressures or the lack of it.
On the A300 gauge on Friday, South Korean battery markers were among the top performers after the country's environmental ministry reportedly forecast that the nation will add 94,430 electric vehicles and hydrogen cars in 2020, an 84% year-on-year jump. LG Chem jumped 6% and Samsung SDI surged 7.1%.
Italian Thai Development climbed 0.7% after saying it had signed a contract with state railway of Thailand for construction of track railway for 2.45 billion Thai baht ($80 million).
Great Wall Motor ended 1.9% higher after a choppy session. The Chinese carmaker reported a 21% on-year decline in December sales.
AU Optronics declined 1% after the Taiwanese company said sales in December declined 16.7% from a year ago.