Asia stocks muted as cheer over US jobs fades

Asian stock markets muted after enthusiasm from last week's US jobs data starts to fade

Associated Press
Asia stocks rise after Wall Street hits record
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A man walks by the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Japan’s benchmark stock index, reopening after a long weekend holiday, surged Tuesday in the wake of a U.S. jobs report issued late last week that handily beat expectations. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stock markets were muted Tuesday as cheer over the better-than-expected U.S. jobs report faded.

Japan's benchmark stock index was the exception, surging 3.4 percent to 14,156.84 as it reopened following a long weekend holiday.

Major indexes on Wall Street as well as Germany's DAX hit record highs Friday after the U.S. Labor Department said employers added more workers to their payrolls in recent months. The unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent, the lowest level in four years.

But enthusiasm over the news began waning Tuesday, with investors mindful of slowing growth in China and the recession among the 17 countries that use the euro.

Andrew Sullivan, trader at Kim Eng Securities in Hong Kong, said some investors were taking a cautious approach ahead of the release in China of trade and inflation data later this week.

"The concern is what's happening on the inflation side, and how much scope that gives for possibly easing or stimulating from the government, although I think the government is happy to see a reduction in growth to move the economy from an export-driven one to a domestic consumption one," Sullivan said.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1 percent to 22,946.22. Benchmarks in Indonesia, Singapore and New Zealand also rose.

South Korea's Kospi fell 0.3 percent to 1,955.45. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell nearly 0.1 percent to 5,151 despite the Reserve Bank of Australia lowering its official interest rate by a quarter percentage point.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 0.8 percent while Westpac Banking Corp. lost 0.9 percent.

No major economic reports came out of the U.S. on Monday, where stocks ended mixed. The Dow Jones industrial average fell less than 0.1 percent to close at 14,968.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.2 percent to 1,617.50. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.4 percent to 3,392.97.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 52 cents to $95.64 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 55 cents to close at $96.16 per barrel on the Nymex on Monday.

In currencies, the dollar fell to 99.05 yen from 99.40 yen late Monday in New York. The euro was little changed at $1.3079.

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