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Asia shares end mixed after US jobs boost; Nikkei at 5-month peak

Asian equities ended mixed on Friday following a better-than-expected U.S. employment report.

U.S. companies added 288,000 jobs in June while the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent, its lowest since September 2008, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report indicated that expectations for strong second-half growth may be fulfilled, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 17,000 points for the first time and sparking a 1 percent rally for German and French stocks. U.S. markets will be shut on Friday for the July 4 holiday.

Read MoreJob growth picks up, and so does talk of rate hikes

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) kept its monetary policy unchanged at its meeting on Thursday, as expected.

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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Nikkei jumps 0.5%

Japan's benchmark index climbed to its highest level since January 23 after snapping a three-day winning streak on Thursday.

Sharp jumped 1 percent on news that it plans to sell its Polish LCD plant and outsource European TV sales to Taiwan's TPV Technology. Sharp is also in talks with Turkey's Vestel to transfer its home appliance sales in Europe.

Retailers were in focus on the back of earnings reports. Seven & I climbed 2 percent after reporting a record consolidated operating profit for the March-May period.

China shares mixed

Mainland stocks slipped 0.2 percent, dragged down by metal stocks, while the yuan rose despite the central bank guiding the currency weaker via a daily reference rate.

Gold miners declined on the back of lower bullion prices and reports that gold imports could continue to slide this year as Beijing cracks down on commodity financing. Shandong Gold and Zhongjin Gold eased 1 percent each.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong stocks were little changed from Thursday's close.

ASX 0.6% higher

Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 rose to a new one-month high for the third straight session.

Miners strengthened as iron ore prices jumped to $96.50 a ton, its highest level since May; Fortescue Metals and BHP Billiton added 1 percent each.

Evolution Mining added over 3 percent after reporting a 9 percent annual rise in fiscal year 2014 gold output.

Kospi flat

South Korean stocks retreated after opening at their highest levels since May 30.

Gains in blue-chip stocks capped larger losses on the benchmark Kospi index; LG Electronics tacked on 0.5 percent while Posco jumped 1 percent.

Sensex 0.5% higher

Indian stocks initially declined on caution ahead of next week's federal budget but managed to turn around during the session, finishing 0.5 percent higher.

Contact Asia

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