Asian Shares Broadly Higher After Strong US Jobs Data


Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Monday as upbeat U.S. jobs data helped investors shrug off worries over U.S.-China trade tensions. Investors also took weak services sector data from China in their stride.

The Chinese market remained shut for a week for the Spring Festival. Seoul markets were closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.21 percent to 27,990.21 even as data showed activity in China's services sector moderated in January.

The Caixin services PMI fell to 53.6 from 53.9 in December, even though new export sales grew at the fastest pace in more than a year.

Japanese shares closed higher, with a weaker yen on the back of solid U.S. jobs data and a surge in crude oil prices helping underpin investor sentiment.

The Nikkei average gained 95.38 points or 0.46 percent to finish at 20,883.77 while the broader Topix index closed 1.07 percent higher at 1,581.33.

Exporters Canon and Panasonic rose about 1 percent. Nissan Motor gained 0.9 percent after it decided not to build the X-Trail model at its existing U.K. plant. Mitsubishi Electric rallied 2.5 percent despite cutting its FY19 forecast.

Sony lost over 8 percent after the tech giant forecast lower full-year sales due to weaker-than-expected sales in the semiconductors, mobile communications and imaging products segments.

Australian markets finished modestly higher, led by banking stocks as investors braced for the fallout from Kenneth Hayne's financial services report released by the government shortly after the market close.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 28.40 points or 0.48 percent to 5,891.20 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 27.70 points or 0.47 percent at 5,963.

The big four banks rose between 0.8 percent and 1.2 percent while wealth manager AMP fell 1.3 percent.

Energy stocks finished broadly higher, with Origin Energy climbing 3 percent. Mining stocks ended on a subdued note, with Rio Tinto falling over 1 percent despite a surge in iron ore prices over the weekend.

Boral slumped 7.9 percent after the building materials provider cut its domestic outlook.

The Aussie dollar slipped after data showed the total number of building approvals issued in Australia fell a seasonally adjusted 8.4 percent month on month in December.

New Zealand shares fell in quiet trading as investors awaited cues from the final report by Australia's Royal Commission for the financial sector as well as the earnings season that begins in earnest next week.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped 19.76 points or 0.22 percent to 8,979.41.

The total number of building permits issued in New Zealand advanced a seasonally adjusted 5.1 percent sequentially in December, Statistics New Zealand said today - standing at 2,382. That follows the upwardly revised 1.9 percent decline in November.

U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday as investors digested a slew of earnings releases and upbeat manufacturing as well as jobs data.

The Dow Jones Industrial rose 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 inched up 0.1 percent to reach their best closing levels in nearly two months while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 0.3 percent.

U.S. non-farm payroll employment surged up by 304,000 jobs in January compared to economist estimates for an increase of about 165,000 jobs while the jobless rates unexpectedly ticked up to 4.0 percent, reflecting a rise in workers on temporary layoff as a result of the government shutdown.

However, the employment growth in the previous month was downwardly revised to 222,000 jobs from the initially reported 312,000 jobs.