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Asia: Markets higher ahead of US jobs data

Thursday, April 2, 2015 - 10:39
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Asian markets climbed on Thursday after the previous day's losses, with expectations for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike further dampened by a weak set of US data.

[HONG KONG] Asian markets climbed on Thursday after the previous day's losses, with expectations for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike further dampened by a weak set of US data.

The disappointing figures out of Washington also pushed Wall Street lower and weighed on the dollar but attention is now on the release of a key US job report on Friday.

Tokyo rallied 1.17 per cent, Hong Kong added 0.50 per cent, Sydney put on 0.68 per cent and Seoul 0.42 per cent higher, with Shanghai advancing 0.33 per cent.

Analysts warned of some rocky weeks ahead after a strong rally across global equity markets in the first three months of the year as Greece attempts to reform its bailout and oil prices struggle.

Expectations for an early summer US rate hike were all but dashed Wednesday after the release of the latest US indicators that included growth in the manufacturing sector slowing for the fifth straight month in March and construction spending dipping in February, led by a decline in public construction.

Also, payrolls firm ADP said 189,000 private sector jobs were created in March, below the 200,000-mark for the first time since January last year.

The Dow fell 0.44 per cent, the S&P 500 dipped 0.40 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 0.42 per cent.

And on currency markets the news weighed on the dollar, which fetched 119.63 yen in Tokyo Thursday, against 119.76 yen in New York.

Investors will be now closely watching Friday's non-farm jobs figures to see if the economy remains strong enough to absorb a rate hike.

"You've got payrolls tomorrow and you've still got the backdrop of Fed rate hikes that I think will come later, rather than sooner," Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners Ltd, told Bloomberg News.

"It will be tougher and more volatile from here."

The euro bought US$1.0754 and 128.65 yen, compared with $1.0760 and 128.86 yen. The European single currency continues to hold up as Greece tries to convince its international creditors to accept proposals reforming its bailout programme.

On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate eased 55 cents to US$49.54 while Brent slipped 53 cents to US$56.57.

Gold fetched US$1,202.58 against US$1,183.55 late Wednesday.

AFP