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Asia stocks buoyant, dollar steadies after solid US job gains

Reuters  |  SINGAPORE 

By Nichola Saminather

(Reuters) - Asian stocks advanced on Monday, taking their cue from Wall Street, while the dollar moderated but retained most gains made on stronger-than-expected July jobs growth and the promise of a U.S. plan that will repatriate corporate profits.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.5 percent.

Japan's Nikkei was up 0.6 percent.

Chinese blue chips rose 0.1 percent, while the Shanghai Composite was flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.4 percent.

South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.5 percent, while Australian shares surged 1 percent.

The dollar moderated on Monday following a strong climb on Friday after data showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 209,000 jobs last month, and June's employment gain was revised higher.

Growing signs of labour market tightness offer Federal Reserve policymakers some assurance that inflation will gradually rise to the central bank's 2 percent target, and likely clear the way for a plan to start shrinking its massive bond portfolio.

The dollar was also buoyed by comments from National Economic Council director Gary Cohn that the U.S. administration is working on a plan that would bring corporate profits back to the United States.

But the pull back in the dollar backs some views in that Friday's rally may not have legs yet.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six peers, inched back 0.2 percent to 93.343. It rallied 0.76 percent on Friday, its biggest one-day gain this year.

The dollar slipped 0.2 percent against the euro to $1.17985 per euro, after surging 0.8 percent on Friday.

The greenback rose 0.1 percent to 110.78 yen, extending Friday's 0.6 percent gain.

"The most logical view here is the moves on Friday were clearly just a sizeable covering of USD shorts, from what was one of the biggest net short positions held against the USD for many years," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, wrote in a note.

For the dollar rally to gain momentum, the market needs to change its interest rate pricing, and that hasn't happened yet, Weston added.

are pricing in about an even chance of a U.S. interest rate hike in December.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes inched back slightly to 2.2673 percent. They closed at 2.269 percent on Friday, up from Thursday's close of 2.228 percent.

The lift in sentiment from Friday's jobs data also supported The Dow closed 0.3 percent higher, its eighth consecutive record high. The S&P and Nasdaq ended the session up 0.2 percent.

The Australian dollar strengthened 0.2 percent to $0.7945.

In commodities, oil prices edged lower but retained most of Friday's gains, posted as the strong jobs data bolstered hopes for growing energy demand.

Officials from a joint OPEC and non-OPEC technical committee are set to meet in Abu Dhabi on Monday and Tuesday to discuss ways to boost compliance with their supply reduction agreement.

U.S. crude slipped 0.1 percent to $49.53 a barrel on Monday, after rising 1.1 percent on Friday.

benchmark Brent also lost 0.1 percent to trade at $52.37, after Friday's 0.8 percent gain.

Gold steadied as the dollar surrendered some of its gains, but remained under pressure. The precious metal was marginally higher at $1,258.38, failing to make up most of Friday's 0.8 percent loss.

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Richard Borsuk)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, August 07 2017. 11:54 IST
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