TOKYO — Asian stock markets were mixed in early trading Thursday as investors digested a disappointing U.S. jobs report and the yen's overnight climb to a new 15-year high against the dollar.
Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average was virtually flat at 9,691.48 as the index fluctuated in and out of negative territory.
The dollar hit 82.75 yen in New York on growing expectations that the Federal Reserve would ease monetary policy. The Nikkei, however, was holding onto gains of more than 3 percent made over the last two days after the Bank of Japan cut interest rates to zero and announced plans to establish an asset-buying fund.
Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi fell 0.3 percent to 1,898.90, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose .05 percent to 4,689.3.
In New York on Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.2 percent to close at 10,967.65. But broader indexes retreated. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.1 percent to 1,159.97, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.8 percent to 2,380.66.
Payroll company ADP said private employers cut jobs in September for the first time in seven months.
Gold reached another high and the dollar slumped further against other currencies on anticipation that U.S. interest rates could head lower if the Fed moves aggressively to buy bonds and take other measures to encourage borrowing.
In currencies, the dollar was trading at 82.92 yen from 82.89 yen late Wednesday. The euro stood at $1.3910 from $1.3929. (AP)