Tokyo shares soar as Asian markets rally on US jobs, STI up 1.1%

Pedestrians stand in front of an electric quotation board displaying share prices from the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on July 8.
Pedestrians stand in front of an electric quotation board displaying share prices from the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on July 8.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - Tokyo led a surge in Asian stock markets on Monday (July 11) as a stronger-than-forecast jump in US jobs provided some much-needed optimism after the hammering caused by Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

Tokyo's Nikkei was the stand-out performer in Asia on Monday, with a landslide victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party providing extra support.

The victory fuelled speculation for a fresh round of stimulus, reportedly worth as much as 20 trillion yen (S$267.22 billion), to kickstart the stumbling economy.

Nintendo was the standout performer, soaring more than 20 per cent on news that its smartphone game debuted at the top of gaming charts. The gains built on a nine percent rise Friday.

The Japanese market ended the morning 3.6 per cent higher.

"Investors are basically welcoming the victory of Abe's ruling coalition," Daisuke Uno, chief market strategist of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, told AFP.

"But the question is whether or not stock prices can keep up this pace."

The positive mood fanned buying throughout Asia, which suffered sharp losses last week on worries about the impact of Britain's shock June 23 decision to break away from the EU.

Hong Kong rose 1.4 per cent, Shanghai added 0.2 per cent and Seoul gained 1.2 per cent.

Singapore's Straits Times Index was up 1.1 per cent at 2,878.70 as of 10:58 am.

Sydney jumped 1.8 per cent on news the ruling conservative party won last week's general election, bringing an end to a uncertainty that had put the country's AAA sovereign rating at risk.

The upbeat start to the week also saw high-yielding currencies rise, with the South Korean won up more than one percent against the dollar, Indonesia's rupiah 0.6 per cent higher and Malaysia's ringgit also rising more than one per cent.

However, the US dollar struggled to break out against the yen, sitting at 100.76 yen in early trade. The pound bought US$1.2933, sitting around 31-year lows as the vote to leave the EU raises questions about the outlook for the British economy.

Friday's data showing the world's biggest economy saw a surge in new posts last month lit a fire under US and European shares, which were also boosted by hopes for fresh central bank stimulus.

The Labor Department said 287,000 jobs were created in June, 112,000 more than expected and a sharp improvement on May's 11,000 that had raised fears of a potential recession.

The news saw all three main indexes on Wall Street surge, while European markets also rallied.