Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
Published Monday, May 9, 2016 1:07AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 9, 2016 3:30AM EDT
BEIJING – Asian stocks were mixed Monday after China’s trade contracted in April and U.S. job growth came in weaker than expected.
KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 2.3 per cent to 2,846.49 points and Taiwan, New Zealand and Indonesia also fell. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.7 per cent to 16,216.03 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.4 per cent to 20,191.69. Sydney’s S&P ASX-200 gained 0.5 per cent to 5,320.70. The benchmark in Singapore also gained.
CHINESE TRADE: Chinese trade shrank in a sign of weak global and domestic demand despite government stimulus efforts. Exports contracted by 1.8 per cent in April from a year earlier and imports plunged 10.9 per cent. Exports so far this year are down 7.7 per cent, though that is an improvement over March’s 9.6 per cent year-to-date decline.
U.S. JOBS: Disappointing jobs data fueled speculation the Federal Reserve might keep interest rates low for another year. The economy added 160,000 jobs in April – less than the forecast of 200,000. But wage growth accelerated to 0.3 per cent over the previous month compared with March’s 0.2 per cent rise. Unemployment held steady at 5 per cent. “This latest mixed data has further diminished the chances of the rate hike in the Fed’s meeting next month,” Alex Wijaya of CMC Markets said in a report.
WALL STREET: Stocks closed modestly higher Friday but ended the week down after three days of losses. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 79.92 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 17,740.63. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 6.51 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,057.14 and the Nasdaq composite rose 19.06 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,736.16.
CHINESE RESERVES: The government said China’s foreign currency reserves, the world’s biggest, rose $6.4 billion in April to just over $3.2 trillion, the second straight monthly increase. That might help to ease investor fears of a capital outflow that might limit the central bank’s options for countering the slowdown. “We believe the authorities can live with capital outflows as long as foreign reserves stay above $3 trillion, which implies monthly declines of around $20 billion,” ING said in a report.
PHILIPPINE ELECTIONS: Investors were watching to see if voters side with the front runner in elections Monday, a foul-mouthed mayor who has pledged to wipe out corruption. Rodrigo Duterte’s blunt comments resonate with some voters but have sparked alarm about electing someone with no national political experience and a tendency to make inflammatory remarks. If Duterte wins, Philippine markets “may initially sell off on uncertainty around economic and foreign policy,” Mizuho Bank said in a report.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 71 cents to $45.37 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 44 cents on Friday to close at $44.66. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 51 cents to $45.88 in London.
CURRENCY: The dollar advanced to 107.57 yen from Friday’s 107.11 yen. The euro rose to $1.1418 from $1.1410.