Asian equity markets ended mostly higher on Friday, with Japanese shares closing higher after the yen weakened and the Nikkei survey showed that Japan's services sector continued to expand in January, although at a slower pace, with a PMI score of 51.9. That's down from 52.3 in December, although it remains well above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The composite PMI came in at 52.3, down from 52.8 in December. However, Chinese shares ended lower after returning from a week-long holiday, as a private Chinese manufacturing survey missed forecasts and China's central bank surprised markets by raising its short-term lending rates. The Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers' index dropped to 51 from 51.9 in December, suggesting a loss of momentum in output and new orders. The manufacturing PMI provides an overall view of activity in China's manufacturing sector, and is a closely watched indicator of economic health. Meanwhile, investors turned cautious ahead of the release of the US monthly jobs data due later in the day. The Labor Department's closely-watched report is expected to show an increase of 175,000 jobs in January after an increase of 156,000 jobs in the previous month. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 4.7 percent.
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