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Asian Shares Mixed After Strong U.S. Jobs Data

stockmarkets jan23 09aug21 lt

Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday after an upbeat U.S. jobs report lifted bond yields and the dollar. Investors now await July inflation readings and the Jackson Hole meeting for additional clues to the Fed's thinking on inflation, employment and the interest rate outlook. Japanese markets were closed for the Mountain Day holiday.

Chinese shares rose sharply despite trade data out over the weekend coming in below expectations. Separate data showed consumer inflation slowed to 1 percent in July, offering no barrier to more policy stimulus. Factory-gate inflation surged again to 9 percent in July as commodity prices climbed.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 36.41 points, or 1.1 percent, to 3,494.63, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended up 104 points, or 0.4 percent, at 26,283.40.

Australian markets fluctuated before closing on a flat note as central bank governor, Philip Lowe, warned the economy is likely to shrink in the quarter ending in September.

A drop in iron ore prices weighed on the mining sector, with BHP, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto falling between 0.8 percent and 1.4 percent.

Westpac Banking Corp advanced 1 percent as the country's second largest lender agreed to sell its domestic life insurance business to Japan's Dai-ichi Life Holdings. The other three big banks rose between 0.9 percent and 1.4 percent.

Insurer Suncorp Group jumped 7.8 percent after it reported bumper profits for the 2021 financial year. Insurance Australia Group shares surged 4.6 percent.

Evolution Mining, Newcrest and Northern Star Resources lost 2-4 percent as gold prices hit a more than four-month low on concerns of a sooner-than-expected interest rate hike in the U.S.

Seoul stocks fell for the third straight session as strong U.S. jobs figures fueled worries about early tapering. The benchmark Kospi ended a choppy session down 9.94 points, or 0.3 percent, at 3,260.42.

Automaker Hyundai Motor dropped 0.7 percent, pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics she 1.1 percent and chipmaker SK Hynix lost 1.7 percent. Kakao Bank shares soared as much as 12.5 percent after the online banking unit of mobile messenger app Kakao Talk went public Friday.

New Zealand shares closed lower, with the benchmark NZX 50 index ending down 69.17 points, or 0.5 percent, at 12,700.83 as investors awaited corporate earnings results to start rolling in later this week.

U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday as better-than-expected jobs data added to economic optimism but also raised concerns about the outlook for monetary policy.

Non-farm payroll employment spiked by 943,000 jobs in July after surging by an upwardly revised 938,000 jobs in June. Economists had expected employment to jump by 870,000 jobs.

The Dow rose 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 edged up 0.2 percent to reach new record closing highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index slipped 0.4 percent.

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