SEOUL, South Korea – Asian stock markets were higher on Thursday after Wall Street logged modest gains on solid labour market data, despite weakness in U.S. manufacturing.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 per cent to 16,960.16 and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6 per cent to 1,958.17. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index underperformed other benchmarks in the region, falling 0.4 per cent to 19,912.45, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 per cent to 2,858.28. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.2 per cent to 5,142.20 and stocks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia also were higher.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “While this rally will inevitably have a pullback at some point, the forthcoming U.S. non-farms payroll, China’s National Party Congress, ECB and BOJ meetings could all help support this rally in the near term,” Angus Nicholson of IG said in a commentary. “Of course, the markets currently look like they are pricing good news in from all of them, so an upset from any one could throw the rally off.”
MIXED U.S. DATA: ADP, a payroll processing company, said private U.S. businesses added a healthy 214,000 jobs last month. However, the Fed’s latest survey of business conditions in its 12 regions, known as the ‘Beige Book,’ found signs of trouble in the manufacturing sector due to weak demand from energy companies, the impact of the strong dollar on exports and sagging growth in key U.S. markets such as Europe and China.
WALL STREET: Wall Street eked out tiny gains on Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34.24 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 16,899.32. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 8.10 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,986.45. The Nasdaq composite index added 13.83 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,703.42.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 10 cents at $34.76 per barrel in New York. The contract rose 26 cents to close at $34.66 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude rose 3 cents at $36.96 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The euro weakened to $1.0863 from $1.0870 and the dollar rose to 114.19 yen from 113.61 yen.