Asia stocks rally after upbeat US jobs report

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HONG KONG: Asian stock markets climbed Monday after another strong US jobs reading provided fresh evidence the economy is recovering and reinforced expectations of a December interest rate rise.

Dealers tracked a surge on Wall Street to return to buying, following Friday’s sharp sell-off in Asia that was fuelled by disappointment with the European Central Bank’s (ECB) revised stimulus programme.

The US Labor Department said Friday that 211,000 jobs were created in November and the unemployment rate held at five percent.

Wall Street’s three main indexes jumped more than two percent Friday on the report.


“The post-payrolls rally in US equities was notable,” Kymberly Martin, a markets strategist in Wellington at Bank of New Zealand, said in an e-mail to clients.

“The market appears to have read the data as reason for confidence in the economic outlook, rather than taking flight at the prospect of imminent reduction in US Fed stimulus.”

While a lift in US borrowing costs would usually be expected to cause selling, analysts said dealers have been soothed by indications from the Fed that any increases would be small and gradual.

Among Asian stock markets Tokyo gained one percent, with exporters boosted by a weaker yen. Hong Kong had put on 0.2 percent in late trade, Shanghai advanced 0.3 percent and Sydney ended up 0.1 percent.

With a US rate increase almost certain, the dollar pushed higher against the yen and euro. The single currency was also weighed down by comments from ECB chief Mario Draghi that he could strengthen its stimulus.

The euro surged more than three percent against the greenback after the ECB unveiled fresh stimulus measures that fell well short of expectations. The bank has, since earlier this year, embarked on a bond-buying scheme that in essence pumps more cash into financial markets, denting demand for the euro.

Crude prices extended Friday’s hefty losses that came after a meeting of the OPEC oil exporters’ group ended without any decision to cut output, despite a supply glut and weak global demand.

AFP

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