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Asian stock markets muted after enthusiasm from last week's US jobs data starts to fade

BANGKOK – Asian stock markets were muted Tuesday as cheer over the better-than-expected U.S. jobs report faded.

Japan’s benchmark stock index was the exception, surging 2.6 per cent to 14,083.26 as it reopened following a long weekend holiday.

Major indexes on Wall Street as well as Germany’s DAX hit record highs Friday after the U.S. Labor Department said employers added more workers to their payrolls in recent months. The unemployment rate fell to 7.5 per cent, the lowest level in four years.

But enthusiasm over the news began waning Tuesday, with investors mindful of slowing growth in China and the recession among the 17 countries that use the euro.

“The positive reverberations from the US April jobs report continue to provide a fillip to markets but the impact is already fading,” Mitul Kotecha of Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said in a commentary.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.1 per cent to 22,941.76. Benchmarks in Indonesia, Singapore and New Zealand also rose.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3 per cent to 5,138.70 as banking shares dipped ahead of a decision on interest rates by the country’s central bank. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.3 per cent to 1,955.86.

No major economic reports came out of the U.S. on Monday, where stocks ended mixed. The Dow Jones industrial average fell less than 0.1 per cent to close at 14,968.89. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.2 per cent to 1,617.50. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.4 per cent to 3,392.97.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 29 cents to $95.88 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 55 cents to close at $96.16 per barrel on the Nymex on Monday.

In currencies, the dollar fell to 98.99 yen from 99.40 yen late Monday in New York. The euro was little changed at $1.3080.

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