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Asia stocks gain after strong US jobs data

Asia stocks gain after strong US jobs data

by Himanshu Singh Mar 12, 2018 at 02:30

Asian stocks got off to a strong start to the week after expectation-topping US jobs data that eased fears of inflation and faster rate hikes.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan firmed 0.4%. Japan's Nikkei jumped 2%, while South Korea rose 0.8%.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.82%. Gains were led by the materials and energy sub-indexes, which rose 1.53% and 1.39% respectively, while gold producers slid 2.14% in the morning.

In Greater China, the Hang Seng Index added 1.34%, while Mainland’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.26%.

Data released on Friday showed that the US economy added 313,000 jobs last month, above a forecast of 200,000 in a Reuters poll. Wage growth, however, rose 2.6% on an annualised basis, coming in below expectations.

Steel producers in Australia were in focus after US President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was working with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure that Australia would not face US steel and aluminum tariffs. Shares of Bluescope Steel rose 3.36% in early trade.

Japanese and South Korean steel producers regained some ground after sliding in the last session. The Topix Iron and Steel index was up 0.94% in the morning, with JFE Holdings up 0.69% in early trade. Meanwhile, Posco and Hyundai Steel rose 1.16% and 1.17%, respectively.

In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the US currency against a basket of rivals, traded at 90.130 at 8:51 a.m. HK/SIN.

Against the safe-haven yen, the dollar firmed to trade at 106.90, extending gains seen last week on the geopolitical developments concerning US-North Korea ties.


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