Investing.com - Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday, after disappointing U.S. nonfarm payrolls data dampened optimism over the U.S. economy.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index inched up 0.2%, Australia’s ASX/200 Index ended 0.38% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index remained closed for a public holiday.
Asia was given a negative lead from the U.S., where the Dow and S&P 500 closed lower following the release of far weaker than expected U.S. jobs data for December.
The U.S. economy added just 74,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department said, the smallest increase since January 2011 and well below expectations for 196,000 new jobs.
The unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 6.7% last month from 7% in November, but this was due in part to people dropping out of the labor force. The labor participation rate fell to an almost 35-year low of 62.8%.
The disappointing data cooled expectations that the Federal Reserve would cut its stimulus program again this month. The central bank cited a stronger labor market in its decision to taper its asset purchase program by USD10 billion in December to USD75 billion-a-month.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng fluctuated between gains and losses in volatile trade amid ongoing concerns over tight liquidity conditions in the financial system and rising interbank lending rates.
Aluminum Corporation of China, or CHALCO, rallied 7.7% after the company projected a swing to a net profit of about CNY1 billion for 2013.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index inched lower as weakness in the financial sector weighed on the benchmark index.
The big four banks were mostly higher, with National Australia Bank falling 1%, while ANZ Banking Group and Westpac Banking Group declined 0.75% and 0.65%. Commonwealth Banking Group retreated 0.8%.
Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a higher open. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a gain of 0.35% at the open, France’s CAC 40 futures added 0.3%, London’s FTSE 100 futures indicated an increase of 0.2%, while Germany''s DAX futures pointed to a rise of 0.2%.
Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets pointed to a modestly lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a loss of 0.1%, S&P 500 futures dipped 0.1%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a decline of 0.1%.
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