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Asian stocks mixed following poor US jobs report

Sun, 08/08/2010 - 8:28pm
Manufacturing.net

Asian stock markets were mixed Monday after a poor U.S. jobs report added to evidence the economic recovery is weakening.

Investors in Asia fretted that anemic growth in the U.S., the world's biggest economy, will hurt demand for the region's cars, consumer electronics, textiles and other exports.

The Labor Department said on Friday that private employers hired 71,000 workers in July - way below the level needed to lower the unemployment rate which remained stuck at 9.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the yen continuing to hover near a 15-year low hit Japanese manufacturers as it makes their products less competitive in overseas markets.

The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 106.89 points, or 1.1 percent, to 9,535.23. Leading exporters fell with Toyota Motor Corp. off 1.6 percent and Sony Corp. down 1.6 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.2 percent to 21,627.78 and the Shanghai Composite Index was down fractionally at 2,657.20. Stocks in Malaysia and Vietnam also fell.

Among gaining markets, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.1 percent to 1,785.64 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 4,578.20. Markets in Taiwan, Indonesia and New Zealand were higher. Singapore was closed for a public holiday.

In the U.S. on Friday, the jobs report sent investors out of stocks and the dollar and into assets perceived as being safer. Foreign currencies and gold rose, as did bond prices, which sent interest rates lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 21.42 points, or 0.2 percent, at 10,653.56, having been down as much as 160 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.17, or 0.4 percent, to 1,121.64, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 4.59, or 0.2 percent, to 2,288.47.

In currencies the dollar rose to 85.43 yen from 85.01 yen in New York late Friday. The euro was flat at $1.3279.

Benchmark crude for September delivery was up 33 cents at $81.03 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.31 Friday to settle at $80.70.

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