Asian shares steady in thin regional trade with China shut for holiday

Shutterstock photo
Shutterstock photo

Shutterstock photo - - Stocks in Japan and Australia held steady in Asia on Monday as trading activity was muted for the China fall holidays.

The Nikkei 225 rose 0.03%, after rising Friday with the U.S. dollar at a near six-year high against the Japanese yen. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.12%, weighed down by falling commodity prices and disappointing trade data from China.

In China, August trade data showed exports rose 9.4% and imports fell 2.4%. Economists had expected August exports to have risen 8.0% year-on-year, while imports were seen up 1.7%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng traded flat. It is closed on Tuesday.

Last week, U.S. stocks ignored a disappointing August jobs report and rallied on Friday as investors bet that recent weeks of positive data suggest that the unemployment numbers were likely an anomaly.

The Dow 30 rose 0.40%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.50%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.45%.

The Department of Labor reported earlier that the U.S. economy added 142,000 jobs in August, far less than the expected increase of 225,000. July's figure was revised to a 212,000 increase from a previously estimated rise of 209,000.

The report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate ticked down to 6.1% in August from 6.2% in July, in line with expectations.

The data came a day after payroll processor ADP reported that its nonfarm payrolls report showed that the private sector added 204,000 jobs in August, missing expectations for jobs growth of 220,000 though still above the 200,000 mark.

Stocks shrugged off the data and rose, as the August jobs report tends to be subject to hefty revisions later in the year.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said that slackness persists in the labor market despite an improving economy, which also fueled the rally by creating a scenario that borrowing costs will remain low while the economy continues to improve.

Factory and service-sector gauges, economic growth reports and other indicators have come in better than expected in recent weeks, giving investors room to largely ignore Friday's jobs report.

In the week ahead, investors will be looking to Friday's U.S. data on retail sales and consumer sentiment for further indications on the strength of the economic recovery.

Testimony on inflation by Bank of England officials on Wednesday and the outcome of a rate review by New Zealand's central bank on Thursday will also be in focus.

On Monday, Germany is to release a report on the trade balance. Elsewhere in Europe, Switzerland is to produce data on consumer price inflation, which accounts for a majority of overall inflation.

Later Monday, Canada is to release data on building permits.

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

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