BEIJING (AP) -- Global stock markets were mixed Friday as investors waited to see whether U.S. hiring in August was weak enough to persuade the Federal Reserve to postpone the winding down of economic stimulus.
Tokyo advanced after Wall Street hit its second record this week. Shanghai and Hong Kong declined.
Markets were waiting for U.S. data on employment, which the Fed has indicated is a factor in deciding when to trim stimulus. Forecasters expect 750,000 jobs were added in August, which would reduce unemployment to 5.2% but would be below the monthly average of 940,000 in June and July.
A survey by payroll processor ADP this week found U.S. companies added fewer jobs than expected. An industry group said manufacturing employment fell.
Investors are making "perverse bets" that low U.S. jobs numbers "will nudge the Fed to defer taper for longer, thereby buoying markets," Venkateswaran Lavanya of Mizuho Bank said in a report.
Investor optimism had been boosted by strong U.S. corporate profits and the spread of coronavirus vaccinations. But the more contagious delta variant and measures to stop it are weighing on business and consumer activity.
In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.2% to 7,176.32 and Frankfurt's DAX shed less than 0.1% to 15,826.18. The CAC 40 in Paris sank 0.4% to 6,783.20.
On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.1%.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% and the Dow gained 0.4%. The Nasdaq advanced 0.1%.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4% to 3,581.73 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 2% to 29,128.11. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong declined 0.9% to 25,852.28.
The Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.8% to 3,201.06 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 0.5% to 7,522.90.
India's Sensex advanced 0.3% to 58,003.78. New Zealand, Bangkok and Jakarta rose while Singapore retreated.
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 340,000, the lowest level since the pandemic began and a sign the job market is rebounding.
The Fed has indicated it might begin winding down bond purchases of $120 billion a month that pump money into the financial system but likely will keep interest rates low until a recovery is confirmed.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 12 cents to $69.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.40 on Thursday to $69.99. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, gained 31 cents to $73.34 per barrel in London. It rose $1.44 the previous session to $73.03 a barrel.
The dollar edged up to 110.00 yen from Thursday's 109.97 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1881 from $1.1875.