Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Monday as weaker than expected U.S. job growth in April eased concerns over the prospect of higher interest rates.
Chinese shares eked out modest gains, with healthcare firms climbing after European Union leaders cranked up their criticism of the United States’ call to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 9.12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,427.99, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended marginally lower at 28,595.66.
Japanese shares advanced as investors awaited earnings from prominent firms for signs of progress in a pandemic-hit economy. The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 160.52 points, or 0.6 percent, to 29,518.34, while the broader Topix ended 1 percent higher at 1,952.27.
Toyota Motor advanced 1.7 percent, Honda Motor jumped 2.1 percent and Nissan Motor surged 4.4 percent ahead of their earnings results due this week.
Heavyweight SoftBank Group, which is scheduled to report results on Wednesday, rose 1.7 percent. Steelmakers Nippon Steel, Daido Steel and JFE Holdings jumped 5-7 percent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rallied 92 points, or 1.3 percent, to 7,172.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 94.60 points, or 1.3 percent, at 7,419.80.
BHP, Rio Tinto, OZ Minerals and Fortescue Metals Group jumped 3-8 percent after iron ore and copper prices hit record highs on Friday. Casino giant Crown Resorts soared 7.3 percent and rival Star Entertainment climbed 7.7 percent after confirming a $12 billion merger proposal between the two.
Explosives and fertilizer maker Incitec Pivot plunged 8.9 percent after a further update on the Waggaman ammonia plant. Lender ANZ dropped 1.3 percent on going ex-dividend.
Seoul stocks hit a record high as a disappointing U.S. jobs report helped allay fears about higher inflation, interest rates and a cutback in stimulus. The benchmark Kospi surged up 52.10 points, or 1.6 percent, to 3,249.30.
Meanwhile, New Zealand shares ended lower as A2 Milk Company downgraded its FY 2021 guidance once again after a weaker than expected performance in the Chinese market and a writedown of up to $90 million in the value of its inventory.
The benchmark NZX-50 index slid 70.91 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,659.01, while A2 Milk shares plummeted 12.8 percent.
U.S. stocks rose on Friday as a surprisingly weak jobs report helped increase bets that the Fed will not pull back on its easy money policies anytime soon.
Data showed non-farm payroll employment rose by 266,000 jobs in April after surging by a downwardly revised 770,000 jobs in March. The jobless rate inched up to 6.1 percent from 6.0 percent in March.
The Dow and the S&P 500 both climbed around 0.7 percent to reach new record closing highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9 percent.
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