Japanese yen rises after reports that former PM Shinzo Abe shot

SINGAPORE — Japan’s stocks gave up most gains and the yen rose on Friday, on news that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was seriously injured in a shooting.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.1% and closed at 26,517.19, while the Topix index was 0.27% higher. Both indexes were more than 1% higher earlier in the session, before reports surfaced that Abe was shot while campaigning.

The yen last traded at 135.84 per dollar. Earlier in the day, it was at 135.9 per dollar.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Abe was in a critical condition and condemned the situation “in the harshest possible terms.”

He said it was a “despicable and barbaric act that took place in the midst of an election, which is the foundation of democracy.”

Abe is still a heavyweight in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Reuters said. He was giving a speech in the city of Nara, campaigning on behalf of other LDP members ahead of Japan’s upper house elections on Sunday.

Asia-Pacific markets

Elsewhere in the region, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.45% to close at 6,678.

South Korea’s Kospi added 0.7% to 2,350.61, while the Kosdaq was 1.12% higher at 766.48.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.12% in the final hour of trade.

Mainland China markets reversed course to close lower. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.25% to close at 3,356.08, while the Shenzhen Component lost 0.61% to 12,857.13.

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But fears of rising prices and an economic slowdown remain.

“The risk out there, of course, would be the heightened inflation and on top of that, there is also the risk of impending recession,” DBS Chief Investment Officer Hou Wey Fook told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Friday.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics is set to report its nonfarm payrolls data Friday stateside. Economists expect a gain of 250,000 jobs for June, according to a Dow Jones survey. That would be less than the 390,000 jobs added in May.

In corporate news, SoftBank on Thursday said Rajeev Misra will step down as CEO of SoftBank Global Advisors, but remain in two other positions. Shares of SoftBank Group rose 0.22% in Asia.

Overnight in the US, major indexes rose.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 346.87 points, or about 1.12%, to close at 31,384.55. The S&P 500 gained 1.5% to 3,902.62, while the Nasdaq Composite added 2.28% to 11,621.35.

European markets rose on Thursday as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned.

Currencies and oil

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 107,322.

The Australian dollar was at $0.6818, struggling for gains after falling after the decision of the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise rates on Tuesday.

The Aussie drifted higher after news the foreign ministers of Australia and China are set to meet for the first time in nearly three years, according to Carol Kong, a senior associate, international economics and currency strategy, at Commonwealth Bank.

“Nevertheless, AUD will likely struggle to sustain these gains while China remains committed to its zero-Covid policy and the global economy is losing momentum,” she wrote in a Friday note.

Oil futures turned negative in Asia’s afternoon trade. US crude was down 0.23% at $102.49 per barrel, while Brent crude was 0.14% higher at $104.80 per barrel.

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