Asia stocks trade higher as oil prices pare gains after record surge

Stocks in Asia traded higher Friday following a record surge in oil prices overnight that saw U.S. crude futures soaring more than 24%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 1.16% while the Topix index was 1.17% higher. South Korea’s Kospi also rose 0.68%.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia edged higher in morning trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.31%.

The moves came after an overnight surge in oil prices, though some of those gains were retraced in the morning of Asian trading hours Friday, with international benchmark Brent crude futures declining 0.94% to $29.66 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also fell 4.58% to $24.16 per barrel.

Oil companies in Asia Pacific rose in morning trade on Friday, with Australia’s Santos surging 10.83% while Japan’s Inpex gained 7.05%.

Thursday’s oil price surge came after U.S. President Donald Trump told CNBC’s Joe Kernen that he spoke to President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and expects them to announce an oil production cut of 10 million to 15 million barrels.

Still, concerns over the economic impact of the global coronavirus pandemic are likely to linger. On Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department said U.S. initial jobless claims surged to more than 6 million last week, reaching a new record as coronavirus-related shutdowns roll through the country.

The U.S. labor market “has more or less collapsed in the past two weeks,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Joseph Capurso wrote in a note, adding “it is only the beginning because more US states are applying lockdowns.” He said the data indicates the nonfarm payrolls report for April will likely indicate a “large jump in unemployment.”

“Very large falls in US payrolls are coming in the following months, even if tonight’s report is stronger than expectations,” he said, referring to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for March expected to be released later on Friday stateside.

On the economic data front, a private survey on China’s services sector for March is expected later Friday, with the Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) set to be released at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 469.93 points higher at 21,413.44 while the S&P 500 was up 2.3% to end its trading day at 2,526.90. The Nasdaq Composite closed 1.7% higher at 7,487.31.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 100.205 after crossing the 100 barrier yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.02 per dollar after an earlier high of 107.79. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6057 after seeing levels above $0.612 earlier in the week.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap in the trading day ahead:

  • China: Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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