Asian Shares Mixed on U.S. Jobs, Eyes on China Trade Talks

TOKYO (AP) -
People walk past an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

Asian shares were mixed Monday, following a reassuring report on U.S. jobs, while investors cautiously awaited the upcoming trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 shed 0.2% to finish at 21,375.25. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7% to 6,563.60, while South Korea’s Kospi was little changed, inching up less than 0.1% at 2,022.50. The Sensex in India picked up 0.5% to 37,853.00. Markets in China were closed for a holiday. They reopen on Tuesday.

Wall Street ended a choppy week of trading with a broad rally that drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than 370 points higher.

The gains Friday also gave the S&P 500 its best day in seven weeks, though the benchmark index still finished with its third straight weekly loss. The job market data for September showed the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a five-decade low and employers were adding jobs at a healthy clip.

The S&P 500 rose 1.4% to 2,952.01. The index finished the week with a 0.3% loss. The Dow climbed 1.4% to 26,573.72. The Nasdaq composite also gained 1.4%, to 7,982.47. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 1% to 1,500.70.

A strong jobs market would enable U.S. households to keep spending, supporting the economy at a time when slowing growth abroad poses a threat and President Donald Trump’s trade war with China is sapping exports and manufacturing.

The world’s two largest economies are set to talk again this week about trade. Markets have been quick to swing on any hint of movement in their dispute, which has dragged on manufacturing around the world, including Asia, and pushed CEOs to delay investments amid uncertainty.

Robert Carnell, chief economist and head of Asia-Pacific research at ING, noted some optimism about the trade talks but warned that past optimism was often misplaced.

“It looks as if we are back to considering the merits of a narrow trade deal today, as news stories break suggesting that China is not looking to make a broader trade deal along the lines it is reported the U.S. is seeking,” he said.