Global Stocks Mixed Ahead of US Employment Update

BEIJING (AP) -- Global stock markets were mixed Friday ahead of U.S. employment data investors hope will show the economy is weakening and persuade the Federal Reserve to ease off plans for more interest rate hikes.

London and Frankfurt opened higher. Tokyo and Hong Kong declined. Oil prices rose.

The future for Wall Street's S&P 500 index was unchanged after the market benchmark fell Thursday following a private sector report that said U.S. employers hired slightly more workers than forecast in September. That gives ammunition to Fed officials who say more rate hikes are needed to cool the economy and rein in inflation that is at a four-decade high.

U.S. government data due out Friday are expected to show fewer people were hired compared with previous months. Investors hope that will help persuade the Fed five rate hikes this year are working and it can scale down plans for more.

"What the market seems to be crying out for is a Fed pivot," said Robert Carnell of ING in a report. "For its part, the Fed is sticking to its 'higher for longer' mantra."

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.1% to 7,007.32 and the DAX in Frankfurt added 0.1% to 12,487.27. The CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.1% to 5,943.54.

On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 lost 0.2%. The index is up 4.4% for the week following its best two-day rally in 2 1/2 years. The Dow slid 1.1%. The Nasdaq composite gave up 0.7%.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.7% to 27,116.11 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 1.5% to 17,740.05.

The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.2% to 2,232.84 while Sydney's S&P ASX 200 lost 0.8% to 6,762.80.

India's Sensex lost less than 0.1% to 58,213.21. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined.

The Fed and central banks around the world are focused on extinguishing inflation that is running at multi-decade highs, but investors worry the unusually large and rapid pace of their rate hikes might tip the global economy into recession.

Strong U.S. hiring is positive for job hunters but a sign of enduring economic strength, which might make the Fed think more rate hikes are needed.

U.S. government data showed the number of applications for unemployment benefits hit a four-month high last week. That suggests the job market might be cooling.

Forecasters expect the government to report the economy added 250,000 jobs last month, well below the past year's monthly average of 487,000 but still a strong number despite inflation and two straight quarters of U.S. economic contraction.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 56 cents to $89.01 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced 69 cents on Thursday to $88.45. Brent crude, the price basis for trading international oils, advanced 45 cents to $94.87 per barrel in London. It rose $1.05 the previous session to $94.42.

The dollar declined to 144.84 yen from Thursday's 145.07 yen. The euro gained to 98.06 cents from 97.94 cents.