HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian shares closed mixed to higher Monday after a better-than-expected jump in US jobs creation, while another batch of weak Chinese trade figures fanned talk Beijing will introduce further economy-boosting measures.
The dollar continued its march upwards against the yen after Friday’s employment figures increased the likelihood the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in the near future.
Tokyo ended marginally higher, adding 15.19 points to 17,935.64 as a weaker yen offset news that Japan’s economy contracted more than initially thought in July-September.
Sydney added 0.70 per cent, or 37.4 points, to 5,372.7, while Seoul lost 0.39 per cent, or 7.67 points, to close at 1,978.95.
In late afternoon trade Hong Kong was up 0.40 per cent and Shanghai extended a recent rally, surging 3.13 per cent.
The US Labor Department said Friday the world’s biggest economy added 321,000 jobs in November, 90,000 more than expected and the best performance in almost three years.
The news is yet another indication that the United States is well on the recovery track and will put more pressure on the Fed to increase interest rates before its mid-2015 timetable.
Wall Street rallied in reaction Friday, with the Dow climbing 0.33 per cent and the S&P 500 adding 0.16 per cent – both settling at record highs – while the Nasdaq gained 0.24 per cent.
“The scale of the improvement in the employment figures was a positive surprise to just about everyone,” said Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities senior equity strategist Norihiro Fujito.
“Fund managers are now guessing how soon the US Fed will start ratcheting up interest rates, which is helping to fuel the dollar’s continued ascent,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.
The dollar pushed higher against the yen in New York, ending the week at 121.44 yen, up from 120.16 yen earlier Friday in Japan.
On Monday the greenback bought 121.46 yen.
The dollar also strengthened against the euro, which was also being sold on expectations the European Central Bank will embark on fresh easing measures early next year as the economy slumbers.
On Monday the euro bought $1.2284, compared with $1.2283 in New York but well off the $1.2380 earlier Friday in Japan. The single currency was at 149.18 yen against 149.16 yen in US trade.
The weaker yen provided support to exporters, offsetting data showing the Japanese economy shrank 0.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter in July-September, worse than the 0.4 per cent first estimated and confirming a recession.