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Global markets steady ahead of U.S. jobs data

BEIJING - Global markets were mostly steady on Friday as investors prepared for the release of U.S. jobs data that could cement expectations for an interest rate hike.

Germany's DAX shed 0.4 percent to 11,542.34 and France's CAC-40 lost 0.3 percent to 5,174.46. Britain's FTSE 100 was flat at 6,747.99. On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 both fell 0.2 percent.

Forecasters expect the U.S. Labor Department's monthly jobs report due out Friday to show employers added 225,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held at 5.3 percent. That would buttress expectations the Fed will lift its benchmark interest rate later this year.

"Markets are confronted with a number of potentially outlook-changing news events in the near future," said Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. "U.S. labor market data tonight and, potentially most significantly of all, China's trade data over the weekend. Traders are likely to be cautious ahead of these releases."

The Shanghai Composite Index bucked the trend, jumping 2.3 percent to 3,744.20, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7 percent to 24,552.47. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent to 20,724.56. Sydney's S&P ASX 200 declined 2.4 percent to 5,474.80 and Seoul's Kospi was off 0.2 percent at 2,010.23.

The Shanghai index's gain, on top of Thursday's 0.9 percent rise, follows multibillion-dollar government efforts to stop a slide in stock prices. The Shanghai index rose 150 percent beginning in late 2014 before hitting a peak in June and declining. Traders are waiting to see when Beijing will withdraw controls that include a ban on sales by big shareholders and curbs on short selling.

The Bank of Japan said it will stick with a monetary easing policy that is expanding the money supply through asset purchases. The economy is "expected to continue recovering moderately," the bank said, suggesting a slowdown in production and consumer spending will pass. Inflation is below the central bank's 2 percent target, but the Bank of Japan said that was due to low oil prices and the underlying trend is in line with plans.

Benchmark U.S. oil gained 5 cents to $44.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.11 on Thursday to close at $44.66.

The dollar edged up to 124.69 yen from Thursday's 124.68 yen. The euro rose to $1.0932 from $1.0926.