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Asian markets mixed, China data offsets US jobs news

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A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo on March 8, 2013. Asian markets were mixed Monday, March 11, 2013, after another record-breaking performance on Wall Street while Shanghai dipped as disappointing economic data fueled concerns about China’s economy. AP PHOTO/ITSUO INOUYE

HONG KONG—Asian markets were mixed Monday after another record-breaking performance on Wall Street while Shanghai dipped as disappointing economic data fueled concerns about China’s economy.

The dollar got a boost from better-than-forecast US jobs figures, hitting multi-year highs against the yen.

Tokyo rose 0.53 percent, or 65.43 points, to 12,349.05, while Sydney added 0.46 percent, or 23.5 points, to 5,146.9—its highest close since September 2008.

Seoul eased 0.13 percent, losing 2.66 points to close at 2,003.35, while Shanghai lost 0.35 percent, or 8.02 points, to end at 2,310.59 and Hong Kong was flat, dipping 1.13 points to 23,090.82.

In Washington the Labor Department reported the United States generated a net 236,000 new jobs in February, far more than expected, pulling the unemployment rate down to a four-year low of 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent.

The report reinforced views that the economy is solidifying its recovery, while analysts said underlying figures and upcoming spending cuts meant the Federal Reserve was unlikely to take its foot off its monetary easing soon.

On Wall Street the Dow broke the 14,400 line for the first time, before finishing at 14,397.07, up 0.47 percent and a new record for a fourth straight session.

The S&P 500 also rose 0.45 percent to 1,551.18, approaching its own record high, while the Nasdaq added 0.38 percent.

And on forex markets the greenback rose in New York by more than one yen Friday to end at 95.97 yen.

In Tokyo Monday the dollar bought 96.04 yen, while the euro stood at $1.3013 and 124.99 yen, from $1.3004 and 124.83 yen in New York on Friday.

The strong performance in the United States was slightly overshadowed by results from Beijing Saturday that showed inflation at a 10-month high of 3.2 percent in February while growth in industrial output and retail sales slowed.

Inflation is a key issue for the ruling Communist Party as it raises the chances of popular discontent over climbing prices and the threat of social unrest.

The figures raise concerns that the pick-up in the economy may be slowing while dealers are also worried the government will unveil tightening measures to temper prices.

“The world’s largest economy continues to recover, while the world’s second-largest economy looks like it has run into a bit of a soft patch,” Matthew Sherwood, head of investment market research at Perpetual in Sydney, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Oil prices eased, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, down 13 cents at $91.82 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for April dipping 24 cents to $110.61 in late afternoon trade.

Gold was at $1,578.34 at 1100 GMT compared with $1,578.68 late Friday.

In other markets:

– Taipei rose 0.29 percent, or 23.58 points, to 8,038.72.

Fubon Financial Holding added 2.33 percent to Tw$44.0, while MediaTek was 0.57 percent higher at Tw$350.0.

– Manila slipped 0.29 percent, or 19.82 points, to 6,813.95.

SM Investments Corp. fell 0.27 percent to 1,097 pesos, while Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. slipped 0.8 percent to 2,970 pesos.

– Wellington closed up 0.29 percent, or 12.55 points, at 4,366.58.

Telecom added 2.77 percent to NZ$2.42, Chorus rose 0.34 percent to NZ$2.91 and Fletcher Building was down 0.43 percent at NZ$9.26.

– Singapore rose 0.10 percent, or 3.44 points, to close at 3,292.97.

Singapore Telecom gained 1.16 percent to Sg$3.49 while DBS Bank dropped 0.19 percent to Sg$15.46.

– Jakarta ended down 20.18 points, or 0.41 percent, at 4,854.31.

Auto manufacturer Astra International dropped 3.01 percent to 8,050 rupiah and tin producer Timah slipped 2.67 percent to 1,460, while paper maker Pabrik Kertas Tjiwi Kimia gained 2.35 percent to 2,175.

– Bangkok added 0.68 percent, or 10.73 points, to 1,577.65.

Coal producer Banpu dropped 0.51 percent to 390 baht and PTT rose 2.39 percent to 343 baht.

– Kuala Lumpur shares gained 4.0 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at 1,657.96.

Felda Global Ventures Holdings rose 3.7 percent to 4.77 ringgit, while Hong Leong Financial Group added 2.9 percent to 15.06.

– Mumbai was down 0.19 percent, or 37.02 points, to 19,646.21 points.

Tata Steel closed down 0.77 percent at 301.40 rupees while outsourcer Infosys was down 0.82 percent at 2,945.75 rupees.


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