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Shares in Asia down on regional data, thin trade with Shanghai, HK shut

Investing.com -

Investing.com - Shares fell in Asia on Monday with investors noting regional data as well as rumblings between the IMF and Greece and with markets shut in Greater China for a holiday

The Nikkei 225 fell 0.32%, while the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.41%. Markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai were closed on Monday.

In Australia the MI inflation gauge for March was flat after a 0.2% month-on-month fall in February.

Also in Australia building approvals for February jumped 3.1%, compared with a 2.0% gain seen month-on-month.

As well private house approvals dipped 1.2% in February, compared with a revised downward fall of 6.4% in January and retail sales were flat compared to a 0.4% month-on-month gain seen in February.

Last week, U.S. stocks rose considerably on Friday as an optimistic March jobs report provided signals of an improving domestic economy, while investors shrugged off sharp declines in crude futures demonstrating indications that equities could be on the verge of decoupling from volatile oil prices .

On Friday morning, the U.S. Department of Labor said nonfarm payrolls rose by 215,000 in March, slightly above consensus estimates of 210,000, building off gains of 245,000 from the previous month. Notably, average hourly earnings jumped by 0.3% one month after slumping by 0.1% in February. The labor force participation rate also increased by 0.1 to 63%, while the unemployment rate rose mildly to 5.0%, hovering near eight-year lows.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 107.66 or 0.61% to 17,792.75, while the S&P 500 Composite index added 13.04 or 0.63% to 2,072.78, kicking off the second quarter on the right foot. The NASDAQ Composite index, meanwhile, rose 44.69 or 0.92% to 4,914.54 after receiving a considerable boost from the slumping biotech sector. On the S&P 500, eight of 10 industries closed in the green, as stocks in the Health Care, Technology and Consumer Goods sectors led. Stocks in the energy industry lagged, plunging more than 1.45% on the session.

Volatility remained low, as the S&P 500 VIX index fell roughly 3% to an intraday low of 13.41, its lowest level year to date.

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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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