- POSTED: 13 Jan 2014 17:25
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Asian markets were mixed on Monday after a worse-than-expected jobs report from the United States that could lead the Federal Reserve to hold off on any fresh cuts to its stimulus programme.
HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed on Monday after a worse-than-expected jobs report from the United States that could lead the Federal Reserve to hold off on any fresh cuts to its stimulus programme.
The dollar faced further selling pressure in early exchanges after tumbling on Friday in response to the official employment figures.
Shanghai fell 0.19 per cent, or 3.73 points, to close at 2,009.56, while Hong Kong added 0.19 per cent, or 42.51 points, to 22,888.76.
Sydney ended 0.38 per cent, or 20.3 points, lower at 5,292.1 and Seoul added 0.54 per cent, or 10.38 points, to 1,948.92.
Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.
The Labor Department said on Friday the US economy added just 74,000 jobs in December, well below the 197,000 expected by analysts.
At the same time, it said the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 per cent from 7.0 per cent in November, although that was mostly because more people had given up looking for work.
The news sent Wall Street's three main indexes tumbling initially before they recovered. By the end of Friday, the Dow was down 0.05 per cent, while the S&P 500 rose 0.23 per cent and the Nasdaq added 0.44 per cent.
The drop in US Treasury yields suggested the market thought the jobs report meant the Fed will avoid aggressively scaling back its stimulus for the time being.
The central bank will hold its next policy meeting at the end of the month and investors will be closely monitoring it to see if it further reduces its bond-purchasing.
At its most recent meeting, it said it would cut the stimulus by $10 billion a month to $75 billion, citing a strong pick-up in the US economy.
Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets Singapore, told AFP: "It has given a lot of people the idea that the pace of reducing stimulus will be decreased. So that risk of a faster pace of tapering has been taken away."
While the result came as a surprise, some analysts said it was likely just a blip and could be explained by firms not hiring due to the severe cold weather seen in the country in recent weeks.
The dollar sank on the report on Friday. The euro hit $1.3666 from $1.3606 prior to the jobs figures, while greenback slipped to 104.15 yen from 104.79 yen.
And on Monday the US unit slipped further -- the euro buying $1.3677 and the dollar at 103.41 yen.
The euro also fetched 141.46 yen compared with 142.33 yen on Friday.
A continuation of the Fed's easy money policy would mean more dollars sloshing around the financial system, dampening demand for the currency.
In oil trade, New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for February delivery, eased 40 cents to $92.32, while Brent North Sea crude for February dipped 10 cents to $107.15.
Gold fetched $1,249.00 at 0810 GMT compared with $1,233.53 late Friday.
In other markets:
-- Bangkok rose 2.24 percent, or 28.11 points, to close at 1,283.56.
Coal producer Banpu gained 2.83 percent or 0.75 baht to close at 27.25 baht, while Bangkok Bank added 2.54 percent or 4.50 baht to 181.50 baht.
-- Kuala Lumpur gained 0.46 percent, or 8.36 points, to close at 1,834.97.
Flag carrier Malaysia Airlines ended 3.2 percent higher at 0.32 ringgit while Petronas Gas rose 1.7 percent to 23.38 ringgit. Puncak Niaga fell 3.8 percent to 2.28 ringgit on news its raw water licence had been terminated.
-- Singapore closed down 0.27 percent, or 8.38 points, at 3,135.49.
DBS Bank eased 0.70 percent to S$17.25 and Singapore Telecom dropped 0.28 percent to S$3.55.
-- Jakarta ended up 3.19 percent, or 135.80 points, at 4,390.77.
State miner Aneka Tambang gained 1.02 percent to 990 rupiah, while Bank Permata fell 0.40 percent to 1,245 rupiah.
-- Taipei rose 0.43 percent, or 36.85 points, to 8,566.2.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.98 percent higher at T$103.0 while Hon Hai Precision advanced 0.74 percent to T$81.8.
-- Wellington climbed 1.03 percent, or 35.01 points, to 4,899.40.
Fletcher Building was up 1.69 percent at NZ$9.00 and Telecom added 1.30 percent to NZ$2.33.
-- Manila closed 1.67 percent higher, adding 97.79 points to 5,940.67.
Metropolitan Bank and Trust put on 4.8 percent to 73/75 pesos and Philippine Long Distance Telephone added 0.74 percent at 2,710 pesos.
-- Mumbai jumped 1.81 percent, or 375.72 points, to 21,134.21.
TCS rose 3.88 percent to 2,370.30 rupees while rival Infosys gained 3.29 percent to 3,665.70 rupees.