Asia shares mostly down ahead of China data

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HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly fell on Monday as investors awaited the release later in the week of Chinese economic data for June, while the dollar added to last week’s gains following a strong US jobs report.

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Tokyo shed 0.37 percent, or 57.69 points, to finish at 15,379.44 and Sydney dipped 0.11 percent, or 6.1 points, to close at 5,518.9, while Seoul lost 0.23 percent, or 4.54 points, to 2,005.12.

Shanghai was flat, edging up 0.55 points to 2,059.93. In the afternoon Hong Kong was marginally lower.

With Wall Street closed on Friday for the Independence Day holiday, there were few catalysts to drive regional markets after they ended last week mixed.

The Labor Department said Thursday the US economy added 288,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent in May. The figures were well above expectations of 215,000 and add to the sense that a recovery is well on track.

Focus is now on Beijing, where the government will Wednesday release inflation data, followed Thursday by trade statistics.

On currency markets the dollar maintained its recent gains against the yen that were boosted by the US jobs report.

The greenback bought 102.10 yen in afternoon Tokyo trade, compared with 102.08 yen on Friday.

The euro was at $1.3577 and 138.62 yen against $1.3600 and 138.90 yen.

Oil prices were mixed. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery eased 12 cents to $103.94 while Brent crude rose nine cents to $110.73.

Gold fetched $1,313.58 an ounce at 7 a.m. local time compared with $1,322.84 on Friday.

AFP

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