Investing.com - Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday, as traders reassessed their expectations for how quickly the Federal Reserve will roll back its stimulus program.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index fell 0.3%, China’s Shanghai Composite index surged 2%, Australia’s ASX/200 Index closed 1.08% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index ended up 1.77%.
Asia was given a positive lead from the U.S., where the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 picked up more than 1% higher on Friday.
Data on Friday showed that the U.S. economy added 113,000 jobs in January, well below expectations for jobs growth of 185,000, after December''s lackluster gain of 75,000 jobs.
It was the weakest two-month stretch of job creation in three years as inclement weather contributed to a slowdown in hiring.
Yet the report also showed that the number of people participating in the labor force edged up to 63% from a 30-year low of 62.8% last month, while the unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked down to a five year low 6.6% from 6.7% in December.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei rose to a one-week high as traders continued to monitor the yen’s movements.
USD/JPY rose to a session high of 102.63, moving off the previous session’s low of 101.43. A weaker yen increases the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated, boosting the outlook for export earnings.
Automakers Toyota and Mazda saw shares rise 1.6% and 2% respectively, Sharp advanced 2.9%, while index heavyweights Fast Retailing and Softbank rallied 3% and 5.7%.
Data released earlier showed that Japan’s seasonally adjusted current account deficit for December widened to a record high JPY638.6 billion from JPY592.8 billion in November.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index edged at a two-week high as gains in the financial sector boosted the benchmark index.
Commonwealth Banking Group tacked on 1.8%, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose 1.6%, while National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Group picked up 1.9% and 1.7% respectively.
Elsewhere, in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng edged lower amid ongoing concerns over liquidity conditions in the financial system and rising interbank lending rates.
China Construction Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China lost 1% apiece.
Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a mildly higher open. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a gain of 0.3%, France’s CAC 40 futures added 0.3%, London’s FTSE 100 futures indicated a rise of 0.3%, while Germany''s DAX futures picked up 0.3%.
Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a loss of 0.1%, S&P 500 futures inched down 0.1%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a fall of 0.1%.
Market players are looking ahead to testimony from new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the week for clues regarding the future of course of U.S. monetary policy.
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