Asian markets rise after bumper US jobs data

Business Monday 04/February/2019 13:36 PM
By: Times News Service
Asian markets rise after bumper US jobs data

Hong Kong: Asia's major markets mostly rose on Monday as investors were cheered by a blockbuster US jobs report last week, while trade was thin owing to the three-day Lunar New Year break.
Expectations that the Federal Reserve will take its foot off the gas in raising interest rates and optimism that China and the United States will eventually hammer out a deal to resolve their long-running trade war were also providing support.
With most of the region closed this week for an extended holiday there are few catalysts to drive business, though dealers took heart from Friday's strong US non-farm payrolls numbers.
The world's biggest economy added 304,000 new posts in January, almost double what was expected and the strongest reading for almost a year, while growth in pay held steady above inflation.
All three main indexes on Wall Street ended with gains and that filtered through to Asia.
Hong Kong ended 0.2 per cent higher and Tokyo climbed 0.5 per cent, with Sony plunging more than eight per cent after lowering its annual sales forecast on Friday and flagging weak profits in its PlayStation business.
Sydney also rose 0.5 per cent though Singapore dipped 0.1 per cent.
Bangkok edged up but there were losses in Jakarta, Wellington, Mumbai and Manila.
Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei and several other markets were closed for the holidays.
Peter Wilmshurst, a portfolio manager at Templeton Global Equities in Melbourne, said 2019 could see a recovery in equities.
"If we see some sort of inflection in economic growth stabilising, then people can have more confidence in earnings," he told Bloomberg TV.
The plunge in prices last year "leaves the valuations of many stocks around the world looking pretty interesting to us, particularly outside the US".
On currency markets the dollar rose, though observers pointed out that the rally in the greenback from the jobs data was limited as dealers focus on the Fed's slower pace of rate hikes.