Weekly Market Outlook

Asia Stocks Rise, Led by Japan, as Yen Falls After U.S. Payrolls

Asian stocks rose as the yen weakened after a strong U.S. jobs report, sending Japanese exporters higher.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.2 percent to 136.04 as of 9:00 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index gained 1.1 percent after nonfarm payrolls climbed by 255,000 last month, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of 89 economists. The yen fell 0.3 percent to 102.08 per dollar, after dropping 0.6 percent on Friday as demand for haven assets waned.

“The lack of clarity because of the U.S. jobs data was one reason why last week’s stock markets were weak,” said Masaaki Yamaguchi, a Tokyo-based equity market strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. “Since the results rose above both the 200,000 level and consensus forecasts, I expect markets to react positively.”

Asian equities are resuming a rally that halted last week after a fresh round of Japanese fiscal stimulus disappointed investors. The regional measure has climbed about 21 percent from a February low, shrugging off the effects of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, as central banks unleash further monetary easing while data from the labor market to retail sales and industrial production spur confidence in the world’s largest economy.

Choppy Year

Still, it’s been a choppy year for Asian stocks. While the Asia-Pacific gauge is up 3.2 percent, Japan’s Topix has lost 16 percent in 2016, as has a gauge of Shanghai stocks.

South Korea’s Kospi Index added 0.4 percent in Monday. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.2 percent. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 0.4 percent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to open. Futures on the China A50 Index gained 0.1 percent in most recent trading, while contracts on the Hang Seng Index advanced 0.7 percent.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index edged up less than 0.1 percent. The U.S. equity benchmark index rose 0.9 percent on Friday, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced to a record. The U.S. jobless rate held at 4.9 percent as many of the people streaming into the labor force found jobs. Odds on the Federal Reserve raising rates by the end of this year rose to 47 percent after the jobs report, up about 10 percentage points from Thursday.