Asian Shares Mixed After Disappointing U.S. Jobs Report

Asian stocks ended Monday’s session on a mixed note as a soft U.S. jobs report did little to allay fears that the Federal Reserve will begin tapering its massive bond purchases as early as next month.

U.S. non-farm payroll employment rose by 194,000 jobs in September after climbing by an upwardly revised 366,000 jobs in August, data showed on Friday. Economists had expected employment to jump by 500,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in September from 5.2 percent in August due to a decrease in the size of the labor force, reflecting lingering labor supply constraints.

Chinese shares gave up early gains to end marginally lower after China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) hit food delivery giant Meituan with a 3.44 billion yuan ($534.3 million) fine for abusing its dominant position. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 487.24 points, or 2 percent, to 25,325.09.

The South Korean market was closed for Hangul Day holiday. Japanese shares rose for a third day as a weakening yen boosted exporters and new cases of coronavirus infections in the country hit the lowest in almost a year on Sunday, adding to economic reopening hopes.

The Nikkei 225 Index surged up 449.26 points, or 1.6 percent, to 28,498.20, while the broader Topix ended 1.8 percent higher at 1,996.58, marking its second straight winning session.

Air transport stocks led the surge, with ANA Holdings rallying 3.7 percent and Japan Airlines adding 3.5 percent.

Among exporters, Honda Motor, Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Mitsubishi Motors and Panasonic jumped 2-7 percent. Sony surged 4.4 percent on reports that it might build a new chip plant with TSMC in Japan. Business-support company Sansan soared 14.4 percent on news of a stock split.

Australian markets ended slightly lower amid allegations Star Entertainment Group turned a blind eye to money laundering at its resorts. Shares of the casino firm slumped almost 23 percent, while Crown Resorts, which is already under intense scrutiny for its own failings, tumbled 3.4 percent on fears of drawn-out regulatory scrutiny for the sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index ended down 20.30 points, or 0.3 percent, at 7,299.80, with strong gains in the mining sector helping limit the downside. The broader All Ordinaries Index slipped 16.20 points, or 0.2 percent, to settle at 7,601.10.

BHP and Rio Tinto rose 1-2 percent on the back of rising iron ore prices. Smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group jumped 5.3 percent after it revealed plans to develop a 1 GW solar PV module manufacturing plant in Australia.

New Zealand shares fell, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index closing down 67.23 points, or 0.5 percent, at 13,019.37. Auckland International Airport, fletcher Building and Air New Zealand lost 1-2 percent.

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