Asian stock markets mixed despite jump in US jobs

Asian stock markets mixed despite jump in US jobs

Tokyo: Asian stock markets were mixed Monday as investors took a pause after last week’s big gains with losses tempered by a surprise jump in US employment.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average was up 96.67 points, or 1 percent, at 9,722.66 while South Korea’s Kospi was off 0.4% at 1,931.34.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed less than 0.1% to 24,870.30 and China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4% to 3,141.38. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.3% to 4,786.10.

Elsewhere, markets in Singapore and Indonesia rose while Taiwan’s benchmark fell.

Global stocks and commodities rallied last week after the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced it would sink $600 billion into buying Treasurys over the next eight months to stimulate the sluggish economy by lowering long-term interest rates.

But the rally ran out steam by Friday in the US with shares in New York squeezing out only narrow gains despite a surprisingly positive jobs report.

The Labor Department said employers added 151,000 jobs in October, the first gain since May and far more than analysts had anticipated.

Even with the surge, the US national employment rate remained at 9.6% for the third straight month, and shares ended barely higher.

The Dow closed up 9.24, or 0.1%, at 11,444.08. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged up 4.79, or 0.4%, to 1,225.85, and the Nasdaq composite index edged up 1.64, or 0.1%, to 2,578.98.

In currencies, the dollar fell to 81.16 yen Monday from ¥81.25 in New York late Friday. The euro fell to $1.3961 from $1.4031.

Benchmark oil for December delivery was up 3 cents at $86.88 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 36 cents to settle at $86.85 on Friday.