Asia Stocks Mixed as US Jobs Data Lift Capped by Outlook


Asian markets saw a mixed start to the week with bargain-buyers moving in after positive jobs data from the US but with gains capped by the gloomy economic outlook.

Data showed US employers hired far more workers than expected in July – the 19th straight month of payrolls expansion – with the unemployment rate falling to a pre-pandemic low of 3.5%.

That news buoyed Asia investors in early sessions but advances were limited  by ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks in China and simmering tensions between Beijing and Washington after last week’s controversial Taiwan visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Also on AF: Sino-Russian Trade Boom Continues, China Exports up 22%


Japan’s Nikkei index ended at a more than four-month high, as investors scooped up stocks that reported robust outlooks, while caution ahead of the release of US consumer prices report limited gains.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.26% to 28,249.24, its highest close since March 29. The index, which opened lower, posted a four-session winning run. The broader Topix edged 0.22% higher to 1,951.41.

Suzuki Motor surged 10.4% after the automaker reported a near 37% jump in its latest quarterly operating profit.

Investors’ focus now is on the July US consumer prices report due on Wednesday, which could see a slight pullback in headline growth, but likely a further acceleration in core inflation.

China stocks moved back and forth, with the energy sector being partially countered by losses in consumer shares.

The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.2% to 4,148.07, while the Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.3%, or 9.91 points, to 3,236.93, The Hang Seng index fell 0.8% to 20,045.77, 

China’s Hainan, an island province dependent on tourism, locked down more areas on Monday, as it battles its worst Covid-19 outbreak after seeing very few cases over the past two years.

Stocks in tourism, transport, and consumer staples retreated, with China Tourism Group Duty Free Corp slumping 4.7%.


China Defence Shares Jump

China’s defence ministry defended its shelving of military talks with the United States in protest against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last week, warning that Washington must bear “serious consequences.” Defence shares jumped more than 2%.

The Hang Seng Index dropped 0.77%, or 156.17 points, to 20,045.77, while the Shenzhen Composite Index on China’s second exchange rose 0.8%, or 17.21 points, to 2,183.22.

The Hang Seng Tech Index dropped 1.8%, with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group down 4.4%.

Elsewhere across the region, risk-averse sentiment took hold with stocks in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore falling 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively. Equities in Seoul reversed early losses to edge ahead 0.1%.

Indian stocks advance with Mumbai’s signature Nifty 50 index up 0.6%, or 109.95 points, at 17,507.45.


US Dollar Drops

Globally, shares gained ground, recovering their footing after the strong US jobs report on Friday bolstered the case for more super-sized interest rate hikes, while the dollar weakened and government bond yields fell.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, added 0.2%, recovering losses of the same amount seen on Friday.

S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures were up 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively. The S&P 500 had ended lower on Friday, weighed down by tech stocks.

Yet market players still eyed risks from higher rates. “Sectors like the higher rated tech stocks are still going to come under pressure for a while until we can see the Fed funds rate coming down,” said Robert Alster, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management.

The US dollar fell 0.3% versus a basket of currencies to 106.32, giving up some gains after strengthening on the jobs boom and the jump in yields.

Oil prices recouped early losses to eke out some gains, having suffered the worst week since April on worries about stalling global demand as central banks keep tightening.

Brent rose 0.7% to $95.73, while US crude was up 0.6% at $89.55 per barrel.


Key figures

Tokyo – Nikkei 225 > UP 0.26% at 28,249.24 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index < DOWN 0.8% at 20,045.77 (close)

Shanghai – Composite > UP 0.3% at 3,236.93 (close)

New York – Dow > UP 0.2% at 32,803.47 (Friday close)


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

Yango and Greenland Shares Jump on News of State Support

Dalio Registers ‘All Weather’ Strategy Amid China Copying


Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.

Recent Posts

China Buys Russian Oil at Deepest Discount in Months

The effective prices refiners pay could exceed the $60 per-barrel cap that came into effect…

42 mins ago

EV Maker Vietnam’s First Company to List in US

If successful, VinFast will be Vietnam's first company to list in the United States

42 mins ago

Plunging Trade Risks China’s Status as the ‘World’s Factory’

China's uncompromising Covid policies, poor domestic demand and a real estate sector crash all combined…

18 hours ago

China Debt Ratio Three Times GDP in Record High – Nikkei

With private businesses reluctant to spend, local government and state-owned banks stepped into the gap…

19 hours ago

US Eases Planned Curbs Against China Chips Over Cost Fears

The move followed pushback from trade groups like the US Chamber of Commerce which argued…

22 hours ago

Asia Stocks Sink as Recession, China Covid Fears Weigh

Investors were in pessimistic mood with US banks predicting a downturn next year and worries…

23 hours ago