Asian stocks fell during Monday morning trade after a disappointing U.S. December jobs report released on Friday.

The Hang Seng index fell by 0.14% in the morning trading and the Shanghai Composite index fell by 0.06%, while the Japanese market remained closed for a public holiday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added 74,000 jobs in December, well below expectations for a 196,000 increase and below an upwardly revised 241,000 rise the previous month.

The U.S. private sector added 87,000 jobs last month, disappointing expectations for 195,000 rise, after an upwardly increase of 226,000 in November.

The report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.7% in December due to a weak participation rate, down from 7.0% in November. Analysts had expected the rate to remain unchanged last month.

The numbers softened stock prices by stoking fears that U.S. recovery could hit a soft patch, though stocks saw support on expectations for the Federal Reserve to trim its USD75 billion monthly bond-buying program at a slower pace than once expected.

Fed asset purchases aim to spur recovery by suppressing long-term interest rates, making stocks an attractive asset class under such loose monetary policies.

At the close of U.S. trading on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.05%, the S&P 500 rose 0.23%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.44%.

Elsewhere, U.S. metals giant Alcoa kicked off the earnings season with mixed fourth-quarter results.

The company posted a loss of USD0.04 a share, missing market estimates for USD0.06 a share,

Revenue came in at USD5.56 billion, which beat some forecasts.

Retailer Target reported on Friday that the number of customers affected by the recent hacking event may total 70-110 million as opposed to an initial estimate of 40 million.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Microsoft, up 1.45%, Caterpillar, up 0.93%, and Intel, up 0.91%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average''s worst performers included UnitedHealth, down 1.84%, Chevron, also down 1.84%, and General Electric, down 0.99%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.41%, France''s CAC 40 rose 0.60%, while Germany''s DAX 30 rose 0.55%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished up 0.73%

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