Asia stocks upbeat

Stocks in Asia were boosted again on Friday, after US markets moved higher on expectations of positive jobs data due out later in the day.

Analysts are expecting the latest US jobs data to show non-farm payrolls increased by 240,000 last month.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.18%; Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.8% in afternoon trade, while the Shanghai Composite was down 8.04 points. In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi closed up 1.05%.

Elsewhere new inflation figures from China showed inflation remained near a five-year low in December.

The annual rate of consumer price index (CPI) inflation was 1.5% last month, slightly higher than November’s figure of 1.4% but well below the government’s target of 3.5%.

The fresh figures support other recent data that indicates continued weakness in China’s economy, and analysts say that may give the government room to introduce fresh policies aimed at supporting economic growth.