Asia-Pacific stocks trade mixed ahead of key U.S. jobs report

This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

View of the Hong Kong skyline.
Nikada | E+ | Getty Images

Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed as investors look ahead to U.S. jobs data that could set the tone for the Federal Reserve's next move for interest rates. The index was last trading 2.1% higher.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index last traded 1.37% higher, after jumping over 2% earlier.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 traded 0.41% higher to close at 6,954.2. South Korea's Kospi added 0.21% to end at 2,408.73 and the Kosdaq rose 1.92% to close at 816.39.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.26% to end at 30,994.67.

China's markets remain closed for the weeklong holiday.

Overnight in the U.S., all three major indexes slipped slightly as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 9.98 points, or 0.03%, to close at 33,119.57. The S&P 500 dipped 0.13% at 4,258.19, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.12% to end at 13,219.83.

— CNBC's Hakyung Kim and Lisa Kailai Han contributed to this report.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index adds 2%, lifted by financials and technology sector

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose more than 2% in early trading, leading wider gains in the region, boosted by financials and technology stocks.

Index heavyweights are in the green. Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba are trading 2.27% higher. Meituan is up 3.02% and Tencent's shares are up 2.4%.

Shares of banks ICBC and HSBC also rose 2.78% and 1.97%, respectively. Ping An rose 2.48%.

Other winners also include energy companies. ENN Energy Holdings saw a 4.14% lift, and Hong Kong and China Gas is up 3.36%.

—Lee Ying Shan

Reserve Bank of India keeps interest rates unchanged at 6.5%

The Reserve Bank of India kept its interest rates steady at 6.5%, in line with Reuters' expectations.

"The reserve bank is concerned. We have identified high inflation as a major risk to macroeconomic stability and sustainable growth," RBI Governor Shri Shaktikanta Das said in the monetary policy statement conference.

India's August retail inflation came in at 6.83% year-on-year as food inflation persists.

"Our monetary policy remains resolutely focused on aligning inflation to the 4% target on a durable basis," he said.

—Lee Ying Shan

Reserve Bank of India expected to keep rates steady

The Reserve Bank of India is expected to maintain its hawkish stance and hold interest rates steady at 6.5% when its three-day meeting concludes Friday, a Reuters poll showed.

"The RBI monetary policy committee is expected to stick with its hawkish pause and keep the 'withdrawal of accommodation' stance today," a DBS note released Friday projected.

Policymakers are expected to weigh global economic conditions like the U.S. dollar as well as oil prices.

"Inflation is on course to return to the 2-6% target range in Sep after a vegetables-driven spike in Jul-Aug, along with a steady core but policymakers will take a forward-looking view," senior economist at DBS Bank Radhika Rao wrote in the note.

India's retail inflation in August came in at 6.83% year-on-year, easing from July's 7.44%. However, the reading still remained above the central bank's 2% to 6% target.

—Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: 'Tremendous opportunity': Oakmark's Bill Nygren says it's a good time to buy these 3 cheaper stocks

It's a good time to buy cheap stocks in some sectors right now, according to Oakmark Funds' Bill Nygren.

The top value-focused fund manager said what's "really unusual today" is how wide the spread is in price-to-earnings multiples.

He names three stocks to consider.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley says these global stocks will soar on the $150 billion generative AI boom

Generative artificial intelligence — or the usage of generative models powered by AI to generate text, images, or other media — is taking the world by storm and it's not just the U.S. tech giants that are set to benefit, according to Morgan Stanley.

In an Oct. 2 note, the bank's analysts led by Adam Wood highlighted that the technology enables the automation of several categories of work and "is set to expand global software spending by [around] $150 billion in the next three years."

So which global stocks are expected to benefit from this trend?

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

Natural gas prices are jumping

Natural gas futures jumped 7.3% on Thursday after data from the Energy Information Administration showed domestic gas inventories ended last week above the five-year average for this time of the year.

Federal data released on Wednesday also showed that the U.S. exported more natural gas in the first half of 2023 than it did during the same period of any previous year. Natural gas exports came out to an average of 20.4 billion cubic feet per day.

— Pia Singh

Gold touches lowest level since March

Gold reached a low not seen since March on Thursday.

Prices fell to as low as $1,826.20. The metal last traded at a lower point on March 9, when it hit $1,815.40.

Gold has fallen about 2% so far this week, putting it on pace to post its third straight losing week.

— Alex Harring, Gina Francolla

OPEC could step in if oil slide continues, Helima Croft says

The sharp decline for oil prices that has brought down West Texas Intermediate futures down by more than $10 per barrel could cause a reaction from oil producing countries, according to Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets

"I think OPEC is a different OPEC than in 2015. ... I would anticipate, if we continue to see selling pressure over the next few days, if this looks like it is going to be a sharp sell-off potentially plunging into the 70s, I think we'll at least start to hear very clear statements from OPEC about potentially coming back in," Croft said on "Squawk Box."

"I think that this market remains stronger than this selling action would have us believe at the moment," Croft added.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 1.7% in morning trading at $82.78 per barrel.

— Jesse Pound