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Asian stocks climb on US jobs report

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Asian markets rose Monday after a strong US jobs report revived optimism over the US economic recovery and drove Wall Street to record highs.

Hong Kong was up 1.02 percent in afternoon trade while Shanghai advanced 1.13 percent. Sydney added 0.52 percent, or 26.7 points, to end at 5,156.2. Tokyo and Bangkok were closed for holidays.

Malaysian shares soared as much as 7.76 percent to a record high of 1,826 points as investors welcomed the poll victory of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which retained power by a comfortable margin in Sunday's general election.

Profit-taking pared the early gains, with the market up 3.33 percent in afternoon trade.

"It is a show of confidence in the ruling coalition," said M & A Securities dealer Ooi Chin Hock.

Bucking the trend, South Korean shares ended down 0.22 percent, or 4.23 points, at 1,961.48 as negative corporate results from construction, steel, and material makers hit sentiment.

US stocks soared to new records Friday after a strong jobs report that saw unemployment fall to 7.5 percent squashed fears that the economic recovery had stalled.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.96 percent at 14,973.96, having breached the 15,000 mark earlier for the first time.

The S&P 500 also finished 1.05 percent higher at a record 1,614.42 points, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 1.14 percent to 3,378.63 points.

The Department of Labor reported an addition of 165,000 jobs for April, which exceeded analyst expectations. But it also made large upward revisions for the prior two months that showed 114,000 more jobs were added than initially estimated.

European markets also posted strong gains, with Germany's DAX 30 index jumping 2.02 percent to an all-time high of 8,122.29 points while London's FTSE 100 index added 0.94 percent to 6,521.46 points.

The European Central Bank cut interest rates to a new record low on Thursday to help stimulate growth in the sluggish eurozone.

Influential billionaire investor Warren Buffett expressed optimism over stock prices at the weekend and praised the policies of President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush for moving the US economy in the right direction.

"They don't look overpriced. They certainly look more attractive than fixed-income investments to me," he told ABC's "This Week" television talkshow in an interview that aired Sunday.

Buffett said the economy had been improving gradually over the last four years, and it would take time before the US experiences more rapid growth.

"Positive US economic data and European Central Bank's easing bias provide a favorable backdrop, but don't forget that China's economy remains a concern," Alvin Cheung, associate director at Prudential Brokerage in Hong Kong, told Dow Jones Newswires.

China is due to release trade and inflation data later this week.

The US jobs report gave forex traders a renewed appetite for risk, sending the euro higher against the dollar in Asian trade.

The euro was at $1.3122 Monday from $1.3116 in New York late Friday. The single currency was also buying 130.04 yen from 129.80 yen.

The dollar was up to 99.10 yen from 99.00 yen.

Oil was higher, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June adding 84 cents to $96.45 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for June delivery gaining 56 cents to $104.75.

Gold was at $1,473.50 an ounce at 0700 GMT compared with $1,485.40 late Friday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei rose 0.42 percent, or 34.02 points, to 8,169.05.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co gained 1.36 percent to Tw$111.5 while leading integrated chip design house MediaTek was 1.64 percent higher at Tw$372.5.

-- Wellington advanced 1.14 percent, or 51.91 points, to 4,596.23.

Fletcher Building was up 1.99 percent at NZ$8.19 and Telecom Corp rose 2.10 percent to NZ$2.68.

mtp/jms

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130506/asian-stocks-climb-us-jobs-report