Asian Markets

Asian Stock Markets Mainly Higher, Despite a Lower than Expected U.S Job Reports

Stock markets in Asia-Pacific were broadly higher on Monday, shrugging off the weaker-than-expected April U.S. jobs reports; while oil futures advanced.

South Korea’s Kospi was one of the largest gainers, rising 1.6% in the first session of the week. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.5% and the Topix jumped 1%.

Asian Markets
Nikkei 225 Index Performance chart

Greater China markets were mixed. The Shanghai composite was marginally up by 0.1%, while stocks in Shenzen jumped 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.3%.

Last week, the widely watched U.S. jobs report for April came in below expectations. The report showed U.S. employers added 266,000 net payrolls last month and the unemployment rate rose to 6.1%.

James Cheo, Southeast Asia chief investment officer at HSBC Private Banking and Wealth Management, said the U.S. jobs report wouldn’t hit investor sentiment.

“I think in terms of the jobs recovery it’s going to be extremely fragile … but I think the trajectory is still the improvement of a job so I don’t think it changes very much the investment thesis, the economic recovery is still very strong, and of course these setbacks would mean that the Federal Reserve would still keep interest rates extremely low and I think from that perspective, we are still in a sort of goldilocks environment which is still very conductive for risk assets across the world,” James Cheo, Southeast Asia chief investment officer at HSBC Private Banking and Wealth Management

Over in Australia, retail sales for March increased 1.3% from the prior month — slightly missing the 1.4% forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. But business confidence in the country surged to a record high in April, according to a survey by the National Australia Bank.

The ASX 200 jumped 1% on Monday.

Asian Markets Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar was roughly flat at 90.279 against a basket of its peers.

Across the region, the Japanese yen changed hands at 108.85 per dollar, while the Australian dollar was flat at $0.7844.

In oil markets, U.S. crude futures advanced 0.48%% to $65.21 per barrel as much of one of the largest pipelines in the U.S. remains closed following a cybersecurity attack. Global benchmark Brent was up 0.51% to $68.63 per barrel.

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