Asian shares held steady on Friday as investors braced for U.S. payrolls data that could add to or detract from the case for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike later this month or in July.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was up 0.15 percent while Japan's Nikkei
Markets expect U.S. employment data due at 1230 GMT to show a non-farm payroll increase of about 164,000 and 0.2 percent rise in average wage earnings in May. [ECONUS]
The data will be followed by a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Monday, the last chance for the Fed to communicate with markets before it begins a blackout period ahead of its policy meeting on June 14-15.
"If we see a job figure that is largely in line with market consensus and if Yellen maintains a positive tone on rate hikes, I think the chances of a rate hike in June is pretty high," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at...