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Asian shares mixed after disappointing US job figures

/ 11:00 PM August 05, 2013

An investor looks at the stock price monitor at a private securities company in Shanghai, China, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Asian stock markets closed mixed on Monday after a disappointing US jobs report sparked worries about the health of the world’s biggest economy. AP PHOTO

HONG KONG—Asian markets closed mixed on Monday after lower-than-expected US jobs growth sounded a warning about the recovery of the world’s biggest economy.

Investors broadly failed to follow Wall Street, which closed last week on record highs despite the job figures indicating that growth remains sluggish.

Tokyo fell 1.44 percent, or 208.12 points, to close at 14,258.04, Seoul dropped 0.37 percent, or 7.16 points, to 1,916.22, and Sydney fell 0.11 percent, or 5.5 points, to 5,111.3.


But Shanghai rose 1.04 percent, or 21.06 points, to 2,050.48 and Hong Kong edged up 0.14 percent, or 31.04 points, to 22,222.01.

Chinese dairy producers led the gains on hopes a scandal involving tainted whey products from New Zealand industry giant Fonterra could turn customers toward domestic brands.

Biostime International Holdings jumped 9.8 percent higher and China Modern Dairy Holdings rose 9.7 percent.

Indonesia’s stock market is closed for a week, starting Monday, for the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Markets in the region were mostly still digesting Friday’s Labor Department figures, which showed the United States added just 162,000 jobs in July, well below the 175,000 increase expected by analysts.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent in June.

The data will serve as an indicator of when the Federal Reserve may rein in its bond-buying program, with sluggish growth suggesting any scaling back of the massive stimulus scheme could be delayed.

Despite the disappointing figures leading to an initial dip, Wall Street saw a late surge to end the week at a record high, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up 0.19 percent, or 30.34 points, at 15,658.36. The broad-market S&P 500 ended up 0.16 percent, or 2.80 points, at 1,709.67.


The dollar fetched 98.76 yen in afternoon Asian trade, almost flat from 98.89 yen in New York Friday, but sharply down from around 99.50 yen in Tokyo Friday.

The euro bought $1.3274 and 131.11 yen Monday against $1.3279 and 131.35 yen in US trade.

Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities, said there was “some caution over stocks having risen too sharply” in previous sessions.

Still, “falls are likely to be limited as uncertainty has broadly receded over the global economic outlook in recent weeks,” he added.

Oil prices turned higher Monday on upbeat economic data from China released over the weekend.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September, gained 30 cents to $107.24 a barrel in afternoon trade, and Brent North Sea crude for September rose 25 cents to $109.20.

China’s official non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for July came in at 54.1, up from 53.9 the previous month. A reading below 50 indicates contraction, while anything above signals growth.

However banking giant HSBC said Monday its PMI for the services industry in China stood at 51.3 in July, unchanged from June.

“The HSBC purchasing managers’ index for the services industry in China remains in an expansionary region, and this has provided support for crude prices,” Lee Chen Hoay, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, told AFP.

Gold cost $1,310.25 at 1030 GMT, compared with $1,289.00 late Friday.

In other markets:

— Bangkok added 0.24 percent, or 3.37 points, to 1,424.31.

Coal producer Banpu lost 0.85 percent to 232 baht, while Airports of Thailand gained 3.08 percent to 184 baht.

— Kuala Lumpur gained 0.15 percent, or 2.63 points, to 1,785.14.

UEM Sunrise rose 0.4 percent to 2.74 ringgit, while financial firm CIMB Group added 0.1 percent to 7.85.

— Manila fell 0.37 percent, or 24.22 points, to 6,509.73.

SM Prime Holdings dropped 0.72 percent to 16.50 pesos while Ayala Corp. fell 0.67 percent to 596 pesos.

— Mumbai rose 0.10 percent, or 18.24 points, to 19,182.26.

India’s Financial Technologies jumped 30.88 percent to 197.95 rupees, while Jindal Steel rose 7.73 percent to 201.35 rupees.

— Singapore slid 0.38 percent, or 12.34 points, to 3,241.79.

Farm commodities supplier Olam declined 0.60 percent to Sg$1.67 and DBS Bank fell 0.80 percent to Sg$17.40.

— Taipei rose 0.48 percent, or 38.75 points, to 8,138.63.

MediaTek shed 1.24 percent to Tw$358.5 while HTC was up 7 percent at Tw$153.

— Wellington climbed 0.14 percent, or 6.59 points, to 4,589.49.

Fletcher Building gained 1.55 percent to NZ$8.54 and Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund slipped 3.65 percent to NZ$6.86.—With Dow Jones Newswires

Originally posted: 12:01 pm | Monday, August 5th, 2013

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