World shares creep higher as Asian holidays stunt trading

A man uses a smartphone in front of an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. Share prices mostly rose in Asia on Thursday following a day of meager gains on Wall Street. Investors are awaiting a U.S. government jobs data following a report by payroll processor ADP showing that hiring by private employers weakened sharply last month, partly because of the damage done by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

TOKYO (AP) — Share prices were little changed in Asia on Thursday, with trading becalmed by public holidays in Shanghai, Hong Kong and South Korea. Investors were awaiting further U.S. government jobs data following a report by payroll processor ADP showing that hiring by private employers weakened sharply last month.

KEEPING SCORE | Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent to 7,478.38 and the CAC 40 of France edged 0.1 percent higher to 5,365.97. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.2 percent to 12,950.31. Dow futures edged up 0.3 percent and S&P 500 futures were nearly unchanged at 2,536.40, pointing to a slow start for Wall Street.

ASIA’S QUIET DAY | Japan’s Nikkei 225 index edged 0.01 percent higher to 20,628.56. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was likewise nearly unchanged at 5,651.80. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

U.S. JOBS | The downbeat report by ADP said hiring by private employers weakened sharply last month, a setback for an economy that had been enjoying a generally strengthening job market. Damage from hurricanes Harvey and Irma were partly to blame, though economists are forecasting a weaker number, also, in a more comprehensive jobs report the government is due to release on Friday.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT | “In the main, there is support for risk assets and investor disdain for safe havens,” Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets said in a commentary. “Volumes across the Asia-Pacific region are expected to remain subdued as Hong Kong and greater China enjoy autumn holidays,” he said.

ENERGY | Benchmark U.S. crude rose 17 cents to $50.15 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 49 cents to $49.98 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gained 40 cents to $56.20 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.61 yen from its 112.75 yen level late Wednesday. The euro climbed to $1.1776 from $1.1760 and the British pound fell to $1.3204 from $1.3245. 

By ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer