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Asia: Markets rally on US jobs data, euro dips after Macron rally

Monday, May 8, 2017 - 11:42

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Asian markets mostly rose on Monday following a Wall Street rally as dealers cheered a strong US jobs report but the euro failed to hold on to early gains after Emmanuel Macron beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in France's presidential election.

[HONG KONG] Asian markets mostly rose on Monday following a Wall Street rally as dealers cheered a strong US jobs report but the euro failed to hold on to early gains after Emmanuel Macron beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in France's presidential election.

The single currency briefly jumped above US$1.10 in response to the centrist's victory in Sunday's polls, which was widely expected but was still met with relief following populist wins last year for Donald Trump in the US and the Brexit vote. There had been fears a win for Ms Le Pen could see France leave the euro and possibly the EU.

However, the euro soon fell back to US$1.0970, with analysts pointing out that a Macron triumph had already been priced in over the past two weeks.

"The reaction to the euro is roughly mitigated, it was fairly muted, we had a brief upside reaction in the euro versus most major currencies, but because the results were widely expected, the reaction to the euro was roughly muted. The euro is essentially where it was just before the results of the elections," Elias Haddad, currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, told AFP.

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And Paul Hatfield, London-based chief investment officer at Alcentra, part of BNY Mellon Investment Management, said: "With populism very much dead now in Europe, investor sentiment should continue to improve with another move to risk-on."

FED HIKES ON COURSE

Markets had been given a positive lead from New York, where all three main indexes ended with healthy gains, with the Nasdaq posting yet another record, following a better-than-expected jobs reading.

The economy added an estimated 211,000 net new positions in April while the unemployment rate fell to 4.4 per cent, the lowest since May 2007, the Labour Department reported.

The reading further strengthens prospects the Federal Reserve will stick to a planned course of two more interest rate hikes this year.

Tokyo's Nikkei index, which was closed from Wednesday to Friday last week, ended the morning session up 1.8 per cent at a 17-month high, while Hong Kong added 0.1 per cent and Sydney put on 0.5 per cent.

Seoul gained 0.6 per cent the day before a presidential election to find a successor to the impeached Park Geun Hye.

Singapore, Wellington and Taipei all enjoyed healthy gains, as did Manila and Jakarta.

However, Shanghai dipped 0.6 per cent.

Energy firms from Australia to Hong Kong also bounced after Friday's sharp losses, as traders tracked a rebound in oil prices, which on Friday hit five-month lows owing to fresh supply glut worries.

Traders are now awaiting the release of Chinese trade data later in the day.

AFP

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