Asian stock markets started the week higher on Monday morning after Friday’s strong U.S. jobs eased inflation fears and increased risk appetites. Nonfarm payroll data out Friday showed that 313,000 jobs were created in February, the highest increase in over 18 months, and a number well above Reuters’ prediction of 200,000 jobs. Hourly earnings were down after increasing in January, with wage growth rising 2.6 percent on an annualized basis in February.
Wall Street indexes reacted positively to the NFP report, with the Dow spiking 1.77 percent, the Nasdaq gaining 1.79 percent and the S&P 500 settling 1.74 percent higher. Investor fears about a potential fourth interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve this year were also quelled, though confirmation will only come after the Fed’s policy meeting next week. Still, JP Morgan analysts warned that traders may be putting too much weight on a single jobs report.
On Monday, all major Asian markets were in the green, with the Nikkei 225 up 10.65 percent as of 2:54 p.m. HK/SIN, and the Hang Seng Index up 1.62 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was up a solid 1 percent while the Shanghai Composite was up 0.54 percent. Australian markets were also higher, buoyed by hopes that Australia could be excluded from U.S. President Trump’s new trade tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Currency Market Movements
The dollar was trading mostly lower against its primary trading partners on Monday afternoon in Asia, down 0.13 percent against the yen to 106.63 and down against the euro, to $1.232. The greenback was mostly unchanged against the Canadian dollar, and t was lower against the Swiss franc and the British pound.