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Asian Markets In Positive Territory

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Asian stock markets are in positive territory on Monday tracking the gains on Wall Street Friday after the release of better-than-expected U.S. jobs data generated optimism about growth in the world's largest economy. In addition, higher commodity prices lifted resources stocks.

The Australian market is advancing. In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 42.60 points or 0.74 percent to 5,763.20, off a high of 5,763.90. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 41.00 points or 0.71 percent to 5,814.30.

In the mining space, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are adding almost 2 percent each amid higher iron ore prices.

In the banking sector, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 1.1 percent to 1.3 percent. Commonwealth Bank is edging up less than 0.1 percent.

Among oil stocks, Woodside Petroleum is up 0.4 percent, Santos is rising 0.6 percent and Oil Search is advancing almost 1 percent after crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent Friday.

Bucking the trend, gold miner Newcrest Mining is declining more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is losing almost 2 percent after gold futures tumbled.

In economic news, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group said that the construction sector in Australia continued to expand in July, and at an accelerated rate, with a record Performance of Construction Score of 60.5. That's up sharply from 56.0 in June, and it moves farther above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Australia will also see July results for job advertisements from ANZ today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower on Monday against a U.S. dollar that got a boost from strong U.S. jobs data. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7921, down from US$0.7968 on Friday.

The Japanese market is rising following better-than-expected U.S. jobs data and on a weaker yen.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is rising 111.31 points or 0.56 percent to 20,063.64, off a high of 20,067.09 earlier.

Among the major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric is advancing almost 1 percent and Panasonic is adding 0.6 percent, while Sony is declining 0.3 percent and Canon is edging down less than 0.1 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is adding almost 2 percent and Honda is up almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining more than 1 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding almost 1 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is rising almost 1 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration is up 0.5 percent after crude oil prices rose Friday.

Among the other major gainers, Marui Group and Comsys Holdings are rising more than 6 percent each, while Minebea Mitsumi is higher by almost 5 percent. On the flip side, Pacific Metals is losing almost 6 percent and Nippon Suisan Kaisha is down almost 3 percent.

On the economic front, Japan will on Monday see preliminary June figures for its leading and coincident indexes today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 110 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are also higher. Bucking the trend, Shanghai is edging lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly higher on Friday after a closely watched Labor Department report showed employment in the U.S. jumped by much more than anticipated in the month of July.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 209,000 jobs in July after spiking by an upwardly revised 231,000 jobs in June. Economists had expected employment to climb by 183,000 jobs compared to the addition of 222,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Dow rose 66.71 points or 0.3 percent to 22,092.81, the Nasdaq edged up 11.22 points or 0.2 percent to 6,351.56 and the S&P 500 crept up 4.67 points or 0.2 percent to 2,476.83.

The major European markets all moved to the upside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index surged up by 1.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.4 percent.

Crude oil futures rose Friday as industry data showed the U.S. rig count fell. WTI oil for September delivery rose 1.1 percent to $49.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTT Staff Writer

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