February 4, 2019: Asia’s major markets mostly rose Monday as investors were cheered by a blockbuster US jobs report last week, while trade was thin owing to the three-day Lunar New Year break.
Expectations that the Federal Reserve will take its foot off the gas in raising interest rates and optimism that China and the United States will eventually hammer out a deal to resolve their long-running trade war were also providing support.
With most of the region closed this week for an extended holiday there are few catalysts to drive business, though dealers took heart from Friday's strong US non-farm payrolls numbers.
European stock markets steady at open
European stock markets steadied at the start of trading on Monday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index up a fraction at 7,022 points.
In the Eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index was flat at 11,180.42 points and the Paris CAC 40 dipped 0.1 percent to 5,014.31.
Tokyo stocks close higher on signs of strong US economy
Tokyo stocks closed higher on Monday, helped by a cheaper yen and optimism over the US economy following strong jobs data that also boosted Wall Street.
The Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.46 percent, or 95.38 points, at 20,883.77, while the broader Topix index advanced 1.07 percent, or 16.70 points, to end at 1,581.33.
That was despite a plunge in the stock of electronics giant Sony, which dropped more than eight percent after lowering its annual sales forecast.
Investors are closely watching earnings reports due this week, including SoftBank Corp. on Tuesday and SoftBank Group and Toyota on Wednesday, analysts said.
Wall Street shares ended mostly higher after stronger-than-expected US jobs data.
The dollar fetched 109.74 yen in Asian trade, higher than the 109.51 yen closing price in New York.
The US Federal Reserve's “postponement of its rate hikes and expectations for progress in US-China trade talks will keep supporting Japanese shares”, said Tsuyoshi Nomaguchi, strategist at Daiwa Securities.
But Masayuku Kubota, strategist at Rakuten Securities, warned a slower pace in US rate hikes could work as a catalyst towards “a higher yen” that would generally push down Japanese shares.
In Tokyo, Panasonic closed up 0.85 percent at 1,061 yen ahead of its third quarter earnings report later in the day.
Honda ended down 3.48 percent at 3,132 yen after it said it logged a fall of 34.5 percent in net profit for the nine months to December.
Advantest rose 1.04 percent to 2,505 yen after the chip-testing devices maker revised up its full-year earnings forecast.