Asian Stocks Rise After U.S. Jobs Data; Japanese Shares Swing

Asian stocks rose, following U.S. shares higher, as expectations for an immediate hike in U.S. interest rates remained low even after better-than-expected economic reports.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4 percent to 126.38 as of 4:28 p.m. in Tokyo, after slumping last week by the most since Feb. 12. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose to its 2016 high on Friday after data showed employment and wages picked up in March, while U.S. manufacturing expanded for the first time in seven months. The chance of a hike at the Fed’s next meeting fell to zero after Chair Janet Yellen reaffirmed the go-slow approach in a speech last week.

“Yellen is exceptionally dovish,” Mark Matthews, head of Asia research and a managing director at Bank Julius Baer & Co. in Singapore, said on Bloomberg Radio. “She’s probably going to let the recovery run hot for a while. This is all great for stocks.”

Topix Swings

Japan’s Topix index gained 0.1 percent, having swung between gains of as much as 1 percent and losses of up to 0.7 percent as investors weighed a strengthening yen with prospects for lower U.S. interest rates.

South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.3 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index both climbed 0.5 percent. The S&P BSE Sensex was little changed. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 0.5 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.1 percent. Markets in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are shut for holidays today.

Sharp Corp. increased 4 percent in Tokyo after President Kozo Takahashi and Foxconn Technology Group’s Chairman Terry Gou formally signed a rescue deal over the weekend that gives the Japanese electronics maker a chance to recover from a long slump. Kaneka Corp. surged 6.8 percent after the Nikkei newspaper reported the chemical manufacturer has developed lithium-ion batteries that are 100 times faster than conventional technology and can charge mobile phones in 10 minutes. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. dropped 2.7 percent in Sydney to lead losses among energy producers after crude oil futures extended declines.

E-mini futures on the S&P 500 Index was little changed on Monday. The U.S. equity benchmark index gained 0.6 percent on Friday to the highest close since Dec. 29. The nation’s payrolls grew by 215,000 workers last month, more than the 205,000 predicted by economists, and February’s increase was revised to 245,000. The unemployment rate rose to 5 percent from 4.9 percent, according to the government data released Friday.

Oil extended last session’s tumble, which wiped out its 2016 gains, after Saudi Arabia backed away from a commitment to freeze crude output. West Texas Intermediate crude slumped as much as 1.7 percent to as low as $36.18 a barrel Monday, extending Friday’s 4 percent tumble. Brent dropped as much as 1.3 percent.

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