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

[HONG KONG] Asian and European 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 Le Pen could see France leave the euro and possibly the European Union itself.

However, the euro soon fell back to US$1.0990, with analysts pointing out that a Macron triumph had already been priced in over the past two weeks.

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In early European trade the CAC 40 index in Paris rose 0.2 per cent, while London was flat and Frankfurt gained 0.3 per cent.

"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.

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."

Markets had been given a positive lead from New York. 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 Labor Department reported.

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

Tokyo's Nikkei index, which was closed from Wednesday to Friday last week, ended up 2.3 per cent at a 17-month high, while Hong Kong was up 0.5 per cent in the afternoon and Sydney put on 0.6 per cent by the close.

Seoul surged 2.3 per cent to a fresh record high, 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 closed down 0.8 per cent, with traders unimpressed by data showing China's exports and imports rose less than expected last month and slowed from March. The market has also been hit by concerns about government moves to crack down on leveraged investing that was fuelling instability.

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 on fresh fears of a supply glut.

AFP

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