ECONOMY

Dollar higher, stocks mixed before US jobs

DOLLAR HIGHER, STOCKS MIXED BEFORE US JOBS

The dollar climbed and Asian stocks hit heights Friday, but Europe was largely downbeat on Spanish political unease as investors awaited key US jobs data.

Hong Kong's main stocks index hit a 10-year high after another record overnight close on Wall Street following more buoyant US data and hopes for tax reform, which has also boosted the dollar.

The euro was dented partly by Spain's ongoing crisis with Catalonia threatening to break away, which has seen the single currency sink to around $1.17 -- having topped $1.20 two weeks ago.

Madrid stocks were down 1.0 percent heading into the afternoon, while Frankfurt managed a slight gain following data showing industrial orders in Germany jumped in August.

London's FTSE 100 rose slightly, as a weaker pound lifted share prices of multinationals. On the downside, EasyJet lost 2.65 percent to 1,250 pence as a trading update failed to impress investors.

The pound faced renewed pressure as the future of British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose much-anticipated Conservative Party conference speech this week ended in disaster, is called into question.

There are worries that her removal could spark fresh uncertainty in Britain as it negotiates with the European Union over leaving the bloc.

"Stocks in Europe (mostly) slipped... with traders sitting on their hands ahead of the release of key US employment stats," said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group.

"Cracks are appearing in Catalonia's move to independence, but until the notion of independence is dispelled, contagion risk remains. The DAX index bucked the trend with small gains after German factory orders saw the biggest monthly jump this year."

- US JOBS DATA -

As the US Labor Department prepares to unveil job creation figures for September, traders were given a positive bump Thursday with figures showing improving factory orders, jobless claims and exports for the world's biggest economy.

The news came as US lawmakers passed an outline budget plan, providing some optimism that President Donald Trump's key economic pledge to cut taxes could come to fruition.

Analysts said the figures could indicate strong growth for the US economy in the third quarter.

All three main indices in New York closed at all-time highs, with the S&P 500 notching a sixth-straight record -- the longest streak since 1997.

And the rally extended into Asia, where Tokyo's Nikkei ended 0.3-percent higher at the highest level for more than two years, while Hong Kong added 0.3 percent to finish at a peak not seen since the end of 2007.

Comments from International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde that "the long-awaited global recovery is taking root" provided for further optimism.

The dollar extended Thursday's gains as dealers contemplated Trump's tax cuts passing through Congress and remarks from top Federal Reserve officials indicating another US interest rate hike before the end of the year, with the possibility of more in 2018.

- KEY FIGURES AROUND 1015 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,525.84 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.1 percent at 12,983.3

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 5,373.23

Madrid - IBEX 35: DOWN 1.0 percent at 10,119.2

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,603.23

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 20,690.71 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 28,458.04 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a public holiday

New York - DOW: UP 0.5 percent at 22,775.39 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1699 from $1.1706 at 2130 GMT Thursday

Dollar/yen: UP at 113.01 yen from 112.83 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3066 from $1.3115

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 21 cents at $56.79 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 39 cents at $50.40

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