Nikkei loses early gains, while Australian stocks rise
Asian shares were mixed Monday, following a healthy report on U.S. jobs, while investors cautiously awaited the upcoming trade talks between the U.S. and China.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, -0.16% lost early gains to be down 0.3% in morning trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.71% rose 0.5%, while South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.05% was about flat. Benchmarks indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.37% , Singapore STI, +0.69% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -1.00% rose slightly. Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed for a holiday.
Among individual stocks, e-commerce company Rakuten 4755, +1.27% gained in Tokyo trading, while Honda 7267, -0.91% and Mitsubishi UFJ 8306, -0.91% fell. LG Electronics 066570, +4.52% rose in South Korea while Beach Energy BPT, +1.65% and Woodside Petroleum WPL, +0.97% advanced in Australia.
Wall Street ended a choppy week of trading with a broad rally that drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than 370 points higher.
The gains Friday also gave the S&P 500 its best day in seven weeks, though the benchmark index still finished with its third straight weekly loss. The job market data for September showed the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a five-decade low and employers were adding jobs at a healthy clip.
The S&P 500 SPX, -0.29% rose 41.38 points, or 1.4%, to 2,952.01. The index finished the week with a 0.3% loss. The Dow DJIA, -0.25% climbed 372.68 points, or 1.4%, to 26,573.72. The Nasdaq composite COMP, -0.20% gained 110.21 points, also 1.4%, to 7,982.47.
If the job market can remain strong, it would allow U.S. households to keep spending. And that spending strength has been the hero for the economy recently, propping it up when slowing growth abroad poses a threat and President Donald Trump’s trade war with China saps exports and manufacturing.
The world’s two largest economies are set to talk again this week about trade. Markets have been quick to swing on any hint of movement in their dispute, which has dragged on manufacturing around the world, including Asia, and pushed CEOs to delay investments amid uncertainty.
Bloomberg News reported Sunday that Chinese officials have narrowed the scope of issues they will discuss at the trade talks, lessening the chances for a broad agreement.
Robert Carnell, chief economist and head of research Asia-Pacific at ING, noted some optimism about the trade talks but warned that past optimism was often misplaced.
“It looks as if we are back to considering the merits of a narrow trade deal today, as news stories break suggesting that China is not looking to make a broader trade deal along the lines it is reported the U.S. is seeking,” he said.
Benchmark U.S. crude CLX19, +1.40% fell 11 cents to $52.50 a barrel. It rose 36 cents to settle at $52.81 per barrel Friday. Brent crude BRNZ19, +1.06% , the international standard, slipped 22 66 cents to $58.15 per barrel.
The dollar USDJPY, +0.05% inched up to 106.78 yen from 106.77 yen Friday.