Asian stocks dip on Wall Street, US dollar sags after weak wage data

Asian shares took cues from a lower Wall Street and dipped early on Monday.
Asian shares took cues from a lower Wall Street and dipped early on Monday. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Asian shares took cues from a lower Wall Street and dipped early on Monday, while the dollar was on the defensive against the euro and yen following disappointing US wage growth data that dented prospects for an early interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.2 per cent. Japan's Nikkei fell 0.2 per cent and South Korea's Kospi lost 0.5 per cent.

The markets will look to the revised July Caixin China manufacturing activity index due at 0145 GMT for further incentive. The preliminary purchasing manager's index (PMI) reading had shown that China's factory sector contracted by the most in 15 months.

On Friday, the Dow lost 0.3 per cent and the S&P 500 shed 0.2 per cent as a drop in energy shares amid the continuing decline in commodities weighed.

The dollar was little changed at 124.01 yen after sliding off a high of 124.58 on Friday. The euro was steady at US$1.1097 after gaining nearly 0.5 per cent.

The greenback went on the defensive after data on Friday showed US labour costs in the second quarter recorded their smallest increase in 33 years.

"This raises doubts as to the nature of the recent strengthening of the labour market and what it means for the pace of Fed normalization later this year," strategists at Barclays wrote. "That being said, the decline seems concentrated in specific sales and office jobs; excluding these, the underlying growth pace was only slightly weaker in Q2, and certainly not as alarming as the headline series suggests."

The dollar's pullback helped its Australian peer bounce above 73 US cents and off a six-year trough of US$0.7234 plumbed on Friday.

In commodities, crude oil continued to flounder after posting its biggest monthly drop since 2008 in July on China's stock market slump and signs that top Middle East producers were pumping out crude at record levels.

US crude was down 0.7 per cent at US$46.81 a barrel after losing 21 per cent in July.