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Asian shares mixed on US jobs, eyes on China trade talks

/ 11:48 AM October 07, 2019

TOKYO – Asian shares were mixed Monday, following a healthy report on U.S. jobs, while investors cautiously awaited the upcoming trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost early gains to be down 0.2% in morning trading at 21,358.56. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4% to 6,544.00, while South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.1% to 2,022.84. Markets in China were closed for a holiday.

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Wall Street ended a choppy week of trading with a broad rally that drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than 370 points higher.

The gains Friday also gave the S&P 500 its best day in seven weeks, though the benchmark index still finished with its third straight weekly loss. The job market data for September showed the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a five-decade low and employers were adding jobs at a healthy clip.

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The S&P 500 rose 41.38 points, or 1.4%, to 2,952.01. The index finished the week with a 0.3% loss. The Dow climbed 372.68 points, or 1.4%, to 26,573.72. The Nasdaq composite gained 110.21 points, also 1.4%, to 7,982.47. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 14.36 points, or 1%, to 1,500.70.

If the job market can remain strong, it would allow U.S. households to keep spending. And that spending strength has been the hero for the economy recently, propping it up when slowing growth abroad poses a threat and President Donald Trump’s trade war with China saps exports and manufacturing.

The world’s two largest economies are set to talk again this week about trade. Markets have been quick to swing on any hint of movement in their dispute, which has dragged on manufacturing around the world, including Asia, and pushed CEOs to delay investments amid uncertainty.

Robert Carnell, chief economist and head of research Asia-Pacific at ING, noted some optimism about the trade talks but warned that past optimism was often misplaced.

“It looks as if we are back to considering the merits of a narrow trade deal today, as news stories break suggesting that China is not looking to make a broader trade deal along the lines it is reported the U.S. is seeking,” he said.

ENERGY:

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 11 cents to $52.50 a barrel. It rose 36 cents to settle at $52.81 per barrel Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, slipped 22 66 cents to $58.15 per barrel.

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CURRENCIES:

The dollar inched up to 106.78 yen from 106.77 yen Friday. The euro strengthened to $ 1.0988 from $1.0979. /gsg

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