Global Shares Advance Ahead of U.S. Jobs Report

By Riva Gold and Lucy Craymer Features Dow Jones Newswires

Global stocks extended gains ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report after all three major U.S. indexes rose to record highs.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.7% in the early minutes of trading, following broad based gains across Asia. Futures pointed to a 0.2% opening rise for the S&P 500, after solid auto sales and a stabilizing oil price helped lift U.S. stocks on Thursday.

The U.S. Labor Department releases the May jobs report later Friday and investors will be watching wage growth figures as they assess its implications for monetary policy.

Recent upbeat readings on jobless claims and private sector payrolls have helped cement expectations for another strong jobs report. Hiring at private U.S. employers increased last month at the fastest pace since 2014, data from Automatic Data Processing Inc. showed Thursday.

"Another solid payrolls rise should seal the June Fed hike, but not cause major jitters," said strategists at Commerzbank.

Investors already see a nearly 96% chance of a rate rise this month, according to data from CME Group. Yields on 10-year Treasurys edged up to 2.221% from 2.217% Thursday while the WSJ Dollar Index was last flat.

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In European stocks, banks and auto companies led gains Friday, offsetting modest declines in energy companies. Brent crude oil was down 1.6% at $49.52 a barrel as investors remained focused on rising output in the U.S. and Libya.

Shares of Germany's Linde AG rose 1.4% after the boards of Praxair Inc. and Linde voted to approve a merger that would create the world's largest industrial-gas maker.

Earlier, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average climbed above 20000 points for the first time in 18 months, leading broad equity gains across the region. The index gained 1.6%, lifted by the dollar's rising strength against the yen, which benefits Japan's exporters. The dollar was last up 0.3% against the yen.

Korea's Kospi was up 1.1%, and Taiwan's Taiex was up 0.7%, on target to reach multiyear closing highs. The Kospi benefited from improved local-investor sentiment after South Korea's first-quarter gross domestic product was revised higher.

The Shanghai Composite Index was up just under 0.1% after a private gauge of manufacturing activity released Thursday showed a contraction in May--the first in nearly a year.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com and Lucy Craymer at Lucy.Craymer@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 02, 2017 03:44 ET (07:44 GMT)