Asian markets rise following weak U.S. jobs report


BEIJING — Asian stock markets gained Monday after weak U.S. hiring in August fueled expectations the Federal Reserve might postpone withdrawal of economic stimulus that has boosted stock prices.

The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +1.12% rose 1% and the Nikkei 225 NIK, +1.83% in Tokyo gained 1.7%. The Hang Seng HSI, +1.04% in Hong Kong advanced 0.5%.

The Kospi 180721, +0.07% in South Korea shed less than 0.1% and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.07% lost 0.6%. Stocks slipped in Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.03% but gained in Singapore STI, +0.50% and Taiwan Y9999, -0.12%.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 0.1% on Friday, but still was near a record high, after the Labor Department reported U.S. employers added 235,000 jobs in August, barely one-third of the consensus forecast of 730,000.

Investors appeared to welcome that, because the Fed might be prompted to postpone a possible reduction in bond purchases that pump money into the financial system. Officials have indicated the Fed board make a decision about that at a meeting this month but wants to be sure a recovery is established and say employment is a key factor.

“The weaker-than-expected jobs gains drastically reduce the chance of Fed tapering” at the September meeting, Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report.

The weak U.S. hiring data also prompted concern the spread of the coronavirus’s more contagious delta variant is hurting economic growth. It was well below the monthly average of more than 900,000 jobs added in June and July.

On Friday, the S&P 500 SPX, -0.03% slipped 1.52 points to 4,535.43. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.21% fell 0.2% to 35,369.09. The Nasdaq composite COMP, +0.21% rose 0.2% to a record 15,363.52, its third straight weekly gain.

The Fed has indicated it might decide at its September meeting when to start winding down its $120 billion a month in bond purchases that pump money into the financial system.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude CLV21, -1.21% fell 82 cents to $68.47 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract sank 70 cents on Friday to $69.29. Brent crude BRNX21, -1.18%, the basis for international oil prices, lost 86 cents to $71.75 per barrel in London. It declined 42 cents the previous session to $72.61.

The dollar USDJPY, +0.17% advanced to 109.78 yen from Friday’s 109.64 yen.

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