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Asian shares slip, investors on a 'wait-and-see mode'

Asian markets stuttered on Friday, snapping out of the reprieve seen post-OPEC output cut deal, as dollar strength pauses and investors await the U.S. jobs report.

Down Under, the ASX 200 closed down 1.02 percent, or 56.23 points, at 5,444.02 dragged by a broad-based decline across the index except for the all-ordinaries gold sub-index which was up 1.02 percent.

Australia's October retail sales rose 0.5 percent from the previous month, the third straight month of gains. A Reuters poll had expected sales to rise by 0.3 percent.

The Nikkei 225 finished down 0.47 percent, or 87.04 points, at 18,426.08, likely dragged by by yen strength which is seen as a negative as it makes Japanese exports more expensive and erodes overseas profits when repatriated.

The South Korean benchmark Kospi closed 0.66 percent lower, or 13.14 points, at 1,970.61.

South Korea's revised third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) was up 0.6 percent from the previous quarter, slightly below a 0.7 percent estimate earlier. The east Asian country remains embroiled in a political scandal involving the President Park Geun-hye, who has offered to quit from her post as opposition parties call for her impeachment.

The Shanghai composite ended down 0.88 percent, or 28.83 points, at 3,244.48 while the Shenzhen composite closed 1.661 percent, or 35.2 points, at 2,084.49.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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"A weak lead from U.S. markets; Italy's referendum and tonight's release of US jobs data all provide reasons for the stock market to close the week in cautious, wait-and-see mode," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note on Friday.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls, a key economic indicator that the Federal Reserve eyes, are due later in the day.

"Given rising inflation expectations with markets pricing in significant fiscal stimulus from the Trump administration, a tightening labor market would further complicate the inflation outlook and render the Fed to be far less dovish that it had been in the recent past," said Cynthia Jane Kalasopatan, market economist at Mizuho Bank, in a note on Friday.

Meanwhile, crude prices started to slip on Friday Asian time but holding above $50 a barrel, after producer cartel Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed on a production cut for the first time since 2008 on Wednesday.

U.S. crude futures dipped 0.12 percent to $51.00 a barrel, while Brent fell 0.54 percent to $53.65 on Friday.

The greenback slipped on Friday, as investors await the U.S. jobs report. The dollar index was softer at 100.77 as of 2:50 pm HK/SIN, compared to levels as high as 101.59 yesterday. The yen wavered at 114.07 against the dollar, strengthening as much as 113.54 earlier.

Markets stateside finished lower on Thursday, with losses led by technology stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 0.36 percent at 19,191.93, the S&P 500 closed down 0.35 percent at 2,191.08 while the Nasdaq composite tumbled 1.36 percent to 5,251.11.

In after hours trading, Starbucks fell more than 3 percent after the coffee giant announced that its CEO Howard Schultz would be stepping down. Starbucks stock was down 3.2 percent at $56.64.

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