By Dow Jones Business News,
January 12, 2014, 10:05:00 PM EDT
Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Monday and the dollar weakened against a number of regional currencies,
after a disappointing U.S. labor report.
U.S. job growth slowed markedly in December, with just 74,000 jobs created in the world's largest economy in December,
compared with growth of 200,000 or more in the prior two months, according to data released on Friday after the Asian
trading session. This was significantly below expectations of a 200,000 gain and could prove to be a stumbling block for
the Federal Reserve's plans to scale back its bond-buying program this year.
As a result, the dollar declined against other currencies on Friday--a trend that continued on Monday. The greenback
dropped to Yen103.57 against the Japanese yen, compared with Yen104.17 late Friday in New York.
Against South Korea's won, the dollar fell to KRW1057.00 compared with KRW1061.65, and the U.S. currency fell against
Malaysia's ringgit to MYR3.2524 from MYR3.2645 at the end of last week.
The Australian dollar on Monday extended its sharp rise from late last week, and moved higher to US$0.9020 from US$
0.8996 at the end of last week, after the number of Australian home-loan approvals in November rose by a little better
more than expected, with a seasonally adjusted 1.1% gain from October.
Regional stock markets edged higher as the weak U.S. jobs data raised the possibility that the Fed could rollback its
bond-buying program more slowly than expected. The central bank's stimulus is credited by many for supporting global
markets for much of 2013.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.5%, South Korea's Kospi added 0.7%, and Singapore's Straits Times Index rose by
0.1%. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.3%. Japanese markets were shut for a public holiday.
Australia's S&P ASX 200 lost 0.2%, though mining stocks managed to rise after the sector underperformed the index last
week. Rio Tinto added 0.5% and BHP Billiton was 0.7% higher.
In corporate news, shares in telecommunications company Telstra Corp. fell 0.1% in Sydney after the firm agreed to
sell 70% of its Sensis directories business for A$454 million to U.S. private-equity firm Platinum Equity.
Write to Daniel Inman at email@example.com
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