Asia stocks down after weaker US hiring report

Asian stock markets mostly down on weaker US hiring, China recovery risks

Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stock markets mostly fell Wednesday, hit by slower U.S. hiring and reports of tighter money market conditions in China that could check its economic recovery.

Weaker-than-expected U.S. job creation in September was a mixed cue for Asian markets. On the plus side, it boosted the case for a full-strength continuation of the Federal Reserve's super-easy monetary policy that has boosted investment in stocks worldwide. On the downside, it suggests U.S. demand for the region's exports will continue to be subdued, which could hurt company earnings.

The Labor Department reported that 148,000 jobs were created in September, below the consensus among analysts for around 180,000. Following revisions to back data, it means that the U.S. economy added an average of 143,000 jobs a month from July through September, down from 182,000 from April through June.

Sentiment in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan was hurt by reports the central bank refrained from injecting funds into money markets, pushing up short-term lending rates.

China's economic growth rebounded to 7.8 percent in the third quarter but inflation and house prices have also risen, creating a balancing act for policymakers.

China's Shanghai Composite Index was down 1.1 percent at 2,186.68 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3 percent to 23,253.48. Taiwan's benchmark dropped 0.4 percent to 8.834,08.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was off 1.7 percent at 14,457.52 as the yen gained against the U.S. dollar, which can hurt sales and profits at Japanese exporters.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3 percent to 5,356.10. Stocks in Singapore and Indonesia rose.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was down 54 cents at $97.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.38 to $98.30 on Tuesday.

The dollar fell to 97.40 yen from 98.13 yen late Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.3775 from $1.3777.

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