Asian Markets Mostly Higher After U.S. Jobs Data

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Monday, while the dollar slipped to a three-week low as upbeat U.S. jobs data for the month of June helped offset worries about rising U.S.-China trade tensions. U.S. tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports took effect on Friday, with China responding promptly by imposing tariffs on U.S. products. Crude oil prices are extending gains in Asian trades.

The Australian market is rising following the gains on Wall Street Friday after the release of upbeat jobs data. Additionally, higher commodity prices lifted resources stocks.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 23.60 points or 0.38 percent to 6,295.90. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 22.30 points or 0.35 percent to 6,378.00.

The major miners are mostly higher, supported by higher copper prices. BHP Billiton is advancing almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is adding more than 1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is down 0.1 percent.

Yancoal Australia said it has redeployed the majority of its workforce of more than 200 from its Austar coal mine in NSW as the miner waits for regulators to decide whether it can reopen the mine following a rock blast in May. The company’s shares are gaining more than 3 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are higher in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.8 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly higher after crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Friday. Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.4 percent and Santos is up 0.2 percent, while Oil Search is down 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners are weak after gold prices edged lower Friday. Evolution Mining is down 0.2 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing 0.3 percent.

Theme park and cinema operator Village Roadshow has requested a two-day trading halt ahead of a potential capital raising.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at US$0.7434, up from US$0.7409 on Friday.

The Japanese market is extending gains from Friday following the positive cues from Wall Street and despite a stronger yen.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 213.84 points or 0.98 percent to 22,001.98, off a high of 22,027.95 earlier.

The major exporters are mostly higher despite a stronger yen. Sony is rising more than 2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric and Canon are advancing almost 1 percent each. Panasonic is declining almost 1 percent.

Automakers Toyota is adding 1 percent and Honda is rising 0.2 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining 3 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is advancing 0.5 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex is adding more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration is higher by almost 2 percent after crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Friday.

Among the market’s best performers, Eisai Co. is rising more than 16 percent, extending strong gains from Friday. Taiyo Yuden is higher by almost 7 percent and TDK Corp. is advancing almost 4 percent.

On the flip side, Hitachi Construction Machinery is losing more than 4 percent and Otsuka Holdings is declining almost 3 percent. Tokai Carbon and Komastu are declining more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan said that overall bank lending in Japan was up 2.2 percent on year in June, coming in at 524.847 trillion yen. That follows the 2.0 percent gain in May.

Japan will also release May figures for current account as well as June numbers for the eco watchers survey today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 110 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai and Hong Kong are rising more than 1 percent each, while South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are also higher. Bucking the trend, New Zealand is lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Friday as traders assessed a relatively upbeat jobs report that showed employment in the U.S. increased more than expected in June, although the unemployment rate also rose after temporary school jobs ended for the summer. The jobs data helped offset worries about trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 99.74 points or 0.41 percent to 24,456.48, the S&P 500 rose 23.21 points or 0.85 percent to 2,759.82 and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 101.96 points, or 1.34 percent, to 7,688.39.

The European markets ended with modest gains on Friday after staging a late recovery. The DAX of Germany climbed 0.26 percent and the CAC of France rose 0.18 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.19 percent.

Crude oil prices rose Friday after the U.S. oil rig count unexpectedly climbed last week. WTI crude gained $0.86 or 1.2 percent to $73.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In Asian trades, crude oil is up $0.31 or 0.42 percent to $74.11.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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