Asian Stocks Gain on U.S. Jobs Optimism

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Asian stocks rose amid optimism for the U.S. monthly jobs report, due Friday.

On Thursday, data showed U.S. unemployment claims fell more than expected last week.

For Friday's jobs report, economists polled by MarketWatch expect 190,000 jobs were added to the economy in January and the joblessness level dropped to 6.6% from 6.7%.

Mainland China stocks rose even after HSBC China services Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 50.7 in January from 50.9 in December, HSBC Holdings PLC said. That was the lowest level in nearly 2.5 years. Service providers reported a further expansion of new orders over the month but this growth was the weakest since June, HSBC said.

China's current account surplus widened to $49.8 billion in September-December, compared with a $40.4 billion surplus over June-September.

Meanwhile, data also Japanese investors accelerated their pace of foreign bond sales to the most in four months last week.

Australia's central bank said inflation will likely breach its target-band by the middle of this year.The central bank now expects the inflation rate to reach 3.25% by June 2014, compared with a November forecast of 2.75%.

The central bank in the Philippines left interest rates unchanged at Thursday's policy meeting. Speaking to CNBC, the central bank governor said rates would remain on hold as long as inflation remains manageable.

In ADR news, News Corp ( NWSA ) says Q2 profit, less items, was $179 million, compared with $178 million a year earlier.

State-run energy firms like Korea Electric Power ( KEP ) gained after revealing plans to meet the government's aim for state-run firms to reduce debt by 2017.

BHP Billiton Ltd. ( BHP ) and Mitsubishi Corp. said they will cut around 230 jobs from a mine in Australia's Queensland state.

Toyota Motor ( TM ) and its local partners sold 85,600 vehicles in China in January, an 18% increase from a year ago, the company said.

The Nikkei ended up 2.17% at 14,462.41, the Hang Seng up 1% at 21,636.85 and Shanghai up 0.56% at 2,044.5.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: NWSA , KEP , BHP , TM

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