Asian stocks gain on BOE easing with key US jobs data awaited, STI down 0.2%

Pedestrians walk in front of an electric quotation board displaying the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on July 29.
Pedestrians walk in front of an electric quotation board displaying the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on July 29. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Asian shares joined a rise in global stock prices on Friday (Aug 5) after the Bank of England (BOE) launched a potent post-Brexit stimulus campaign, but some caution before a big US jobs report limited gains.

An overnight rally in crude oil prices also sharpened risk appetites, while sterling nursed deep losses after sliding on news of the BOE stimulus plan.

The BOE said it would take "whatever action is necessary" to achieve stability in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

The BOE's quarter point rate cut to a record low 0.25 per cent sent already low global bond yields even further down with British yields hitting record lows as gilt prices rose.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 per cent, headed for a 0.9 per cent weekly gain. MSCI's world stocks index rose 0.3 per cent.

Australian shares gained 0.5 per cent and South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 per cent. Japan's Nikkei advanced 0.6 per cent.

Bucking the trend, Singapore stocks opened weaker with the Straits Times Index down 0.17 per cent at 2,827.07 as of 9:18am.

Wall Street ended Thursday little changed ahead of the July US nonfarm payrolls report which will be scoured for clues to whether it is strong enough to support a Federal Reserve rate hike as early as September.

Economists polled by Reuters expect US employers to have added 180,000 jobs, compared with 287,000 in June.

"We may need the jobs report to come in much higher than expected to revive rate increase prospects for September and lift the dollar, given how weak the second quarter US GDP was," wrote Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

The dollar was effectively flat at 101.185 yen, on track to fall 0.8 per cent on the week. The euro was steady at US$1.1132 after losing 0.7 per cent on Thursday.

The dollar index was steady at 95.752 after gaining 0.3 per cent on Thursday.

Sterling crawled up 0.1 per cent to US$1.3120 after retreating 1.6 per cent overnight.

The Australian dollar hovered near a 3-week high of US$0.7641, awaiting the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy statement due later in the day.

The US Treasury 10-year note yield was little changed at 1.502 per cent after dropping 25 basis points overnight during a broad post-BoE rally in bond markets, which took the 10-year gilt yield to a record low of 0.639 per cent.

Yields on euro zone bonds such as German bunds also tumbled on Thursday as bond prices rose after the BoE news.

In commodities, oil pulled back slightly after rallying overnight following a modest stockpile drop at the US delivery hub for crude futures.

US crude was down 0.2 per cent at US$41.83 a barrel after surging nearly 3 per cent overnight. Crude prices had slid to a 3-1/2-month low below US$40 earlier in the week on concerns of a global glut.