Asian stocks up, buoyed by encouraging US employment data

TOKYO: Share prices were higher in Asia on Monday, lifted by encouraging employment data from the U.S. that took the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to its third straight weekly gain on Friday despite weakness earlier in the week.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index was up 0.2 percent at 22,855.98 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.5 percent to 28,777.13. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia edged 0.1 percent higher to 6,000.20 and the Shanghai Composite index added 0.4 percent to 3.303.22. South Korea’s Kospi was up a bit more than 0.1 percent at 2,467.22. shares in Southeast Asia also were higher.

WALL STREET: U.S. shares climbed after the jobs report showed that employers added 228,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained at a low 4.1 percent in the latest evidence that the U.S. economy continues to improve, in sync with the rest of the world. The S&P 500 rose 0.6 percent to 2,651.50, another record. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.5 percent to 24,329.16 and the Nasdaq composite added 0.4 percent to 6,840.08.

GEOPOLITICS: An agreement that allows talks to continue to the next stage for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union has reassured investors investors hoping for a smooth exit that does not disrupt global trade. Another potential source of worry for investors dissipated after Congress passed a spending bill that prevented a government shutdown. It keeps the U.S. government running only until Dec. 22, though, when another deadline looms.

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ENERGY: The price of oil fell back, with benchmark U.S. crude losing 30 cents to settle at $57.06 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 67 cents to $57.06 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 31 cents to $63.09 per barrel. It rose $1.20 to $63.40 per barrel on Friday. That helped energy stocks in the S&P 500 rise 0.9 percent.

BITCOIN: The first-ever bitcoin future jumped as the increasingly popular virtual currency made its debut on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. The futures contract that expires in January surged more than $3,000 to $18,010 four hours after trading launched on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. The price of an actual bitcoin has soared since beginning the year below $1,000. As of 0400 GMT it was at $16,353.67 on the private exchange Coindesk.

CURRENCIES: The dollar ticked up to 113.59 Japanese yen from 113.48 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1784 from $1.1774, and the British pound climbed to $1.3403 from $1.3465.


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