Asian Shares Follow Wall Street Higher As Recession Worries Ease
Asian stocks advanced on Monday as Friday’s resilient U.S. jobs data and the Senate passing the debt ceiling bill helped ease fears of a recession. Encouraging service sector readings from China and Japan also boosted sentiment.
While U.S. job growth was almost as twice as strong as expected in May, smaller wage gains fueled hopes inflationary pressures are weakening and the Fed will pause interest-rate hikes.
Signs of a strong U.S. economy gave an expected boost to the dollar and weighed on gold prices. Oil prices jumped nearly 2 percent in Asian trading after a new output deal among OPEC+ member states was reached over the weekend.
Chinese shares ended on a flat note even as a private survey showed China’s services activity picked up in May. The Shanghai Composite Index finished marginally higher at 3,232.44, giving up earlier gains. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.8 percent to 19,108.50.
Japanese shares led regional gains to hit a 33-year high, tracking strong gains on Wall Street on Friday and amid optimism that the Bank of Japan will maintain ultra-low rates at the end of a two-day policy meeting later this month.
There was more cheer on the data front, as a private survey showed Japan’s service sector activity expanded at a record pace in May.
The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 2.2 percent to 32,217.43, marking its highest close since July 1990 and posting its biggest daily gain since January 18. The broader Topix Index ended 1.7 percent higher at 2,219.79.
Uniqlo brand owner Fast Retailing rallied 3.9 percent and robot maker Fanuc soared 4.5 percent, while tech stocks such as Advantest and Screen Holdings climbed 2-3 percent.
Seoul stocks ended higher on Fed pause hopes. The Kospi gained 0.5 percent to close at 2,615.41, led by auto, airline and energy stocks.
Australian markets rallied as strong oil and iron ore prices lifted energy and mining stocks. Gold miners succumbed to heavy selling pressures as bullion prices fell on a stronger dollar.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index finished 1.0 percent higher at 7,216.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended 1.0 percent higher at 7,401.20.
Elders rose 2.7 percent after an announcement that its chief executive, Mark Allison, would continue in his role.
New Zealand markets were closed for a public holiday.
U.S. stocks posted strong gains on Friday as the latest jobs report delivered mixed signals and the passage of a debt-ceiling agreement helped avert concerns surrounding debt default.
The Dow rallied 2.1 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1.1 percent to reach a more than one-year high and the S&P 500 added 1.5 percent to set a new nine-month closing high.
Data showed non-farm employment soared by 339,000 jobs in May, while economists had expected an increase of 190,000 jobs.
However, a rise in unemployment rate to a seven-month high of 3.7 percent and lower average hourly earnings helped keep alive hopes of the Fed pausing rate hikes.
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