Asia stocks fall on slack US jobs data; Nikkei up

Asian stock markets fall on disappointing US jobs data but Nikkei jumps as yen slides

Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stock markets were mostly lower Monday after a disappointing U.S. jobs report, although the Nikkei piled on more gains as the yen's dramatic fall boosted the country's powerhouse export sector.

The Japanese yen has weakened sharply in the aftermath of a surprise decision Thursday by the Bank of Japan to overhaul its monetary policy, pledging to double the money supply to achieve a 2 percent inflation target within two years.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shot up 2 percent to 13,091.95. The dollar rose sharply to 98.39 yen from 94.13 yen late Friday in New York. A weaker currency can help make Japanese exports more price competitive in overseas markets.

Elsewhere, however, markets fell after the U.S. government reported a sharp decline in hiring in March. U.S. employers added just 88,000 jobs in March, just half the average of the previous six months. The closely watched report was a letdown for investors who had become more optimistic about the economy after recent positive signs on housing.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.1 percent to 21,692.09. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.1 percent to 1,924.91. Benchmarks in mainland China, Singapore and Taiwan also fell.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 4,901.70.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was up 13 cents to $92.83 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 56 cents to close at $92.70 in New York on Friday.

The euro rose to $1.2988 from $1.2822.

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