Asian stocks gain on strong US jobs data

An electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan.
An electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - Asian equities advanced on Monday (Aug 7) after strong US hiring data on Friday bolstered American stocks. The yen was little changed after sliding by the most in 1 1/2 weeks on Friday.

Stocks in Japan, Australia and South Korea gained at the start of trading for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose on Friday for a ninth straight day to close at a record, while the US dollar averted a fourth-straight weekly slide after government figures showed employers added workers at a solid clip and wage growth picked up in July. The S&P 500 Index ended one point below an all-time high to cap a weekly gain, while the Dow's winning streak is the longest since February.

Broad-based hiring in July along with stronger household incomes and buoyant consumer confidence may give the Federal Reserve reason to raise US interest rates later this year as it seeks to normalize monetary policy. The US dollar's bounce propelled it higher from the lowest since 2015 as investors sought faster growth in economies outside the US.

China expressed confidence that new United Nations sanctions would help bring North Korea to the negotiating table to end its push for nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Vice President Mike Pence disputed a report Saturday suggesting that he may be among Republicans preparing for run for president in 2020 if Donald Trump doesn't seek a second term, calling it "laughable and absurd."

Japan's Topix index rose 0.5 per cent, while the S&P/ASX 200 Index in Sydney was up 0.8 per cent. South Korea's Kospi index gained 0.3 per cent. Contracts on Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index were slightly lower.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index added 0.3 per cent.

Contracts on the S&P 500 rose 0.1 per cent as of 9:22am in Tokyo after the gauge advanced 0.2 per cent on Friday; the MSCI All-Country World Index rose 0.4 per cent last week.

The yen slid 0.1 per cent to 110.80 per dollar as of 9:22am in Tokyo,  The euro was higher at US$1.1785 after losing ground on Friday as the dollar rebounded on the non-farm payroll data.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed. It rose 0.6 per cent on Friday as the greenback advanced against all its G-10 pees after the jobs data beat economists' forecasts.

West Texas Intermediate crude retreated 0.1 per cent to US$49.53 a barrel.

Gold declined 0.1 per cent to US$1,257.53 an ounce, after losing 0.8 per cent on Friday.