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Asian markets mostly higher after Wall Street advance

Asia's markets rose on Monday, taking their lead from a strong rally on Wall Street as investors brushed aside below-forecast US jobs data, and analysts suggested the recent downturn may have ended.

HONG KONG: Asia's markets rose on Monday, taking their lead from a strong rally on Wall Street as investors brushed aside below-forecast US jobs data, and analysts suggested the recent downturn may have ended.

The dollar edged higher against the yen in early trade, adding to its gains in New York on Friday thanks to an uptick in optimism.

Tokyo rose 1.77 percent, or 255.93 points to 14,718.34, Seoul was flat, inching up 0.80 points to 1,923.30 and Sydney was 1.08 percent, or 55.6 points, firmer at 5,222.1.

Shanghai rallied 2.03 percent, or 41.57 points, to 2,086.07 but Hong Kong eased 0.27 percent, or 57.59 points, to 21,579.26.

The US Labour Department said Friday the economy added 113,000 jobs in January, far below the 175,000 forecast. However, the report did include some positive news such as a rise in labour force participation.

Analysts said unusually severe winter weather over the past few weeks may have been a factor in the soft data.

US investors were undeterred by the numbers, with the Dow jumping 1.06 percent Friday, the S&P 500 up 1.33 percent and the Nasdaq 1.69 percent higher.

There had been fears that a disappointing set of numbers could send global markets slumping again after suffering huge sell-offs at the start of the month following weak US and Chinese manufacturing reports and the Federal Reserve's decision to further cut its stimulus.

However, Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management, said: "Wall Street's reception of the jobs numbers showed that the recent market correction may very well be over."

On currency markets the dollar bought 102.20 yen compared with 102.30 yen in New York, where it had firmed from 102.05 earlier Friday in Asia.

The euro bought $1.3637 and 139.30 yen compared with $1.3637 and 139.52 yen. The single currency is well up from the $1.3583 and 138.65 in Tokyo at the end of last week.

Eyes will now be on Washington on Tuesday, when the new Fed chief Janet Yellen makes her first appearance in the post before Congress.

Investors will be looking for clues about the central bank's plans for its stimulus programme, which has been credited with buoying global equity markets.

Oil prices slipped. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for March delivery, eased 10 cents to $99.78 and Brent North Sea crude for March was down 35 cents at $109.22.

Gold fetched $1,272.60 an ounce at 1045 GMT compared with $1,260.90 late Friday.

In other markets:

-- Mumbai fell 0.21 percent, or 42.29 points, to end at 20,334.27 points.

Mobile service provider Idea Cellular fell 8.43 percent to 126.50 rupees a share while competitor Reliance Communications fell 3.95 percent to 120.35 rupees.

-- Kuala Lumpur rose 7.55 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 1,816.14.

Malayan Banking inched up 0.2 percent to 9.82 ringgit, while plantation giant Sime Darby gained 0.1 percent to 9.02. Conglomerate YTL lost 0.6 percent to 1.57 ringgit.

Bangkok lost 0.45 percent, or 5.83 points, to 1,290.66.

-- Coal producer Banpu fell 1.83 percent to 26.75 baht, while Airports of Thailand dropped 1.44 percent to 171.50 baht.

Singapore rose 0.13 percent, or 4.06 points, to close at 3,017.20.

-- Oil rig maker Keppel Corp eased 0.39 percent to Sg$10.33 while DBS bank gained 0.18 percent to Sg$16.38.

-- Jakarta closed down 0.36 percent, or 15.92 points, at 4,450.75.

Mobile phone provider Indosat fell 0.25 percent to 4,030 rupiah, while Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper lost 0.38 percent to 1,315 rupiah.

-- Taipei was flat, edging up 4.60 points to 8,391.95.

Leading smartphone maker HTC eased 3.79 percent to Tw$127.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.96 percent lower at Tw$103.0.

-- Wellington fell 0.16 percent, or 7.73 points, to 4,833.06.

Energy provider Vector ended down 4.0 percent at NZ$2.38 and SkyCity fell 1.6 percent to NZ$3.66. Fletcher Building was off 0.22 percent at NZ$8.98.

-- Manila closed 0.52 percent higher, adding 31.11 points to 6,042.25.

Universal Robina rose 1.02 percent to 119 pesos while Ayala Corp. added 1.43 percent to 533 pesos.

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