World stocks mixed as investors brace for key US job report

The indexes of the global markets are shown on a huge screen at the Korea Exchange in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Most Asian stock markets were mixed Friday as investors awaited the monthly U.S. jobs report and developments in the U.S. probe into President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A currency trader walks by the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Most Asian stock markets were mixed Friday as investors awaited the monthly U.S. jobs report and developments in the U.S. probe into President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A currency trader watches monitors near the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), right, and the foreign exchange rates at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Most Asian stock markets were mixed Friday as investors awaited the monthly U.S. jobs report and developments in the U.S. probe into President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A currency trader walks by the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Most Asian stock markets were mixed Friday as investors awaited the monthly U.S. jobs report and developments in the U.S. probe into President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Pedestrians wait in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Most Asian stock markets were mixed Friday as investors awaited the monthly U.S. jobs report and developments in the U.S. probe into President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. (AP Photo/Sherry Zheng)
A man stops to look at an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Most Asian stock markets were mixed Friday as investors awaited the monthly U.S. jobs report and developments in the U.S. probe into President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. (AP Photo/Sherry Zheng)

SEOUL, South Korea — World stock markets were mixed Friday as investors parsed the latest earnings reports while awaiting a key U.S. jobs report that threatens to dent optimism over the Fed's rate hike schedule.

KEEPING SCORE: European shares were fairly flat in early trading. Germany's DAX was nearly unchanged at 12,163.52 and France's CAC 40 was unchanged at 5,132.39. Britain's FTSE 100 was up less than 0.1 percent to 7,477.21. Wall Street was poised to open higher. Dow futures rose 0.1 percent to 21,996.00 and broader S&P 500 futures crept up less than 0.1 percent to 2,472.80.

JOBS REPORT: The week's big event is the U.S. government's July jobs report due later Friday, which investors will be analyzing for its implications for interest rates and the dollar. Analysts forecast that American employers added 180,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate ticked down to 4.3 percent. A strong figure would increase the likelihood of a December rate hike by the Fed.

IN THE MONEY: The latest earnings from big companies added to the strong run of corporate results in the current reporting season. Japanese auto making giant Toyota Motor Corp. posted an 11 percent rise in quarterly profits on improved sales around the globe, it said after the close of trading. In Europe, the Royal Bank of Scotland swung to a 680 million pound ($894 million) quarterly profit after losing more than 1 billion pounds a year ago.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Friday's potential market-shaker will be the U.S. jobs report for July, which should offer crucial insights into the health of the US labor market," said Lukman Otunuga, an analyst at FXTM. "Optimism over the Federal Reserve raising interest rates again this year is waning and a soft U.S. jobs report that fails to plug the holes is likely to expose the dollar to further losses."

U.S. PROBE: Special Counsel Robert Mueller's decision to use a grand jury in an investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia was the latest headline-grabbing news. The use of a grand jury suggests that Mueller and his team will likely hear from witnesses and demand documents in coming weeks. While the move doesn't suggest any criminal charges are near or will necessarily be sought, the investigation is widely seen as a distraction and is not good news for markets.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 percent to close at 19,952.33 while South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent to 2,395.45. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index edged up 0.1 percent to 27,562.68 but the Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.3 percent to 3,262.08. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.3 percent to 5,720.60. Benchmarks in Singapore and Indonesia fell but markets in Taiwan and other Southeast Asian countries advanced.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 110.09 yen from 110.04 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1886 from $1.1870.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 36 cents to $48.67 per barrel in electronic trading on New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dipped 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, to close at $49.03 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 28 cents to $51.73 per barrel in London. It fell 35 cents to close at $52.01 a barrel on Thursday.

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