Sydney: Asian stocks touched one-month highs on Monday after the latest US jobs data pacified for now investors who worried a second recession in the world’s biggest economy was nigh.
Investor relief that the US employment report was not as bad as some had thought tempered demand for traditional safe-havens such as gold and government debt.
But investors said the market mood, albeit improved, was far from buoyant. For one, the yen is still within sight of a 15-year peak on the dollar, while US Treasury yields were not far above historical or multi-month lows.
“The jobs data was better than expected, but it’s not as if it improved drastically,” said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan, Inc.
Price action also suggested investors were not diving into riskier assets just yet. The MSCI Asia stock index outside Japan added 0.7%, less than the S&P 500’s 1.3% jump on Friday.
Trading too was tempered by US market holiday on Monday.
Japan fared the best in Asia, with the Nikkei climbing 1.5% and the Topix rising 1.2%.
Growth-sensitive exporters led the rise. Kyocera Corp climbed 2%; TDK Corp added 2.4%, and Tokyo Electron Ltd rose 1.9%.
US data showed on Friday 54,000 government jobs were shed in August, less than the 100,000 the market had braced for. Some investors had expected even heftier losses.
That took the shine off the US dollar’s appeal as a safe-haven currency, to the benefit of the euro and riskier currencies such as the high-yielding Australian dollar.
Equally, gold, another traditional haven, eased a touch.
Japanese government bond yields also hit an eight-week low. while most U.S. Treasury two- to 10-year note futures edged lower.
Oil, which tends to benefit when the growth outlook improves, was an anomaly on Monday. It fell towards $74 a barrel as peak gasoline use in the United States, a top consumer, waned with the end of the summer driving season.