Asia stock markets rally after Wall St gains, US jobs eyed

GMT 09:04 2016 Friday ,03 June

Arab Today, arab today Asia stock markets rally after Wall St gains, US jobs eyed

Tokyo was up 0.2 percent by the break, while Hong Kong added 0.7%
Hong Kong - AFP

Asian stock markets ended the week on a high Friday, tracking a strong lead from New York, while optimism about a US jobs report later in the day pushed the dollar up against the yen and euro.

The upbeat outlook was also evident in oil markets, where prices sat around the $50 mark as OPEC's refusal to cap output was offset by a fall in US stockpiles.

With the start of June proving to be hard going, the focus is on Friday's non-farm payrolls report from the Labor Department, which helps the Federal Reserve decide when to lift interest rates.

Expectations are high for a June or July hike after bank chair Janet Yellen last Friday said such a move could be justified "in the coming months", citing continued US economic growth and a strengthening labour market.

US investors provided a perfect platform for their Asian counterparts with the S&P 500 ending at a seven-month high, with help from a rally in oil prices.

Tokyo ended up 0.5 percent and Shanghai also closed 0.5 percent higher, while Sydney gained 0.6 percent. In afternoon trade Hong Kong added 0.4 percent while Singapore tacked on 0.4 percent.

"Investors are taking heart that US stocks are at such high levels, and that should lead to a rebound," Mitsuo Shimizu, an equity strategist at Japan Asia Securities Group in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.

"This OPEC meeting was unlike the previous ones and the selloff in oil prices has ended, that's also giving us reason to be optimistic."

- Dollar dips -

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' failed to agree a deal to limit output at its latest twice-yearly meeting in Vienna, in line with expectations.

However, while crude prices initially fell on the news, they rebounded after official figures showed US reserves fell last week, fuelling hopes demand in the world's top economy is picking up.

In afternoon trade Brent was up 0.3 percent at $50.17 and West Texas Intermediate gained 0.2 percent to $49.25.

With US borrowing costs tipped to rise this summer, the dollar has managed to hold up, although fading hopes for any fresh Japanese stimulus continue to put weight behind the yen.

The greenback eased on Friday to 108.70 yen from 108.88 yen in New York, while the euro rose to $1.1160 from $1.1154.

"The environment is not bad for risk assets and I expect it to continue, but all the attention is now on the Fed rate hike," said Yusuke Kuwayama, a portfolio manager at Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance in Tokyo. 

"If the payrolls tonight are strong, we’ll see markets further price in a rate hike by pushing short-term yields higher and giving the dollar a bit of a boost."

- Key figures at 0700 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 16,642.23 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 2,938.68 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.4 percent at 20,951.44

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1160 from $1.1154 on Thursday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.70 yen from 108.88 yen

New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 17,838.56 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 6,185.61 (close)

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