Asian markets up on US jobs data

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HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose on Thursday, with sentiment buoyed by more impressive jobs data from the United States, but Tokyo struggled after the dollar fell back below the 100 yen mark in New York City.

Bargain buyers also provided some support after Hong Kong and Sydney suffered big losses in the previous session, but traders’ main focus is the release on Friday of US nonfarm payrolls figures.

Tokyo slipped 0.26 percent, or 36.63 points to 14,018.93, but Seoul added 0.79 percent, or 14.48 points to end at 1,839.14, while Sydney rallied 1.07 percent, or 50.6 points to 4,794.7.

Shanghai rose 0.59 percent, or 11.83 points to 2,006.1, supported by bargain-buyers after the benchmark index slumped last week.

Hong Kong was up 1.60 percent, or 321.36 points to end at 20,468.67, also rebounding after a heavy fall on Wednesday.

Wall Street ended in positive territory on Wednesday in shortened trade ahead of the July 4 Independence Day holiday.

US payrolls firm ADP estimated that 188,000 private-sector jobs were generated in June, up from its May reading of 134,000 and above the 137,000 average for March-May, when the economy went through a dip.

Also, the US Labor Department said that weekly new claims for unemployment compensation, a signal of the pace of layoffs, fell to 343,000 in the week ending Friday, 5,000 below the previous week.

The Dow rose 0.38 percent, the S&P 500 edged up 0.08 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.30 percent.

The news points to a positive result for the broader figures on Friday, with investors using the data as a gauge of what the US Federal Reserve will do with its massive bond-buying scheme, known as quantitative easing (QE).

“How the markets react [to Friday’s jobs data]is anyone’s guess. Good news might be bad news for the markets as anything that argues for the Fed to end QE sooner rather than later is not appreciated,” said Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.

“But even that reaction will likely change since good news is, well, good news,” he added.
On forex markets, the dollar remained under pressure against the yen after falling back in New York City in thin trade.

The greenback bought 99.67 yen in the afternoon, from 99.86 yen in New York City late on Wednesday.

The euro fetched $1.2995 and 129.52 yen, against $1.3010 and 129.93 yen.

AFP

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