Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Asian stocks extend global rally after U.S. jobs report

Most Asian stocks gained on Monday, extending the rally that took global equities to a record high after a U.S. jobs report signalled the economic recovery remained intact but didn’t yet warrant any immediate withdrawal of Federal Reserve stimulus.

 

Japanese markets, however, bucked the trend, with the Nikkei falling 0.5% following a surge in COVID-19 infections in Tokyo, just weeks before the city hosts the Olympics.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3%, led by a 1% gain in Taiwan. Chinese blue chips added 0.1%.

The MSCI All Country World index closed at a record 724.66 last week, and edged 0.1% higher on Monday.

S&P 500 futures pointed to a 0.1% dip for Tuesday’s open, after the index closed 0.8% higher at a record 4,352.34 on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.8% to hit a record.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by a bigger-than-expected 850,000 jobs last month. But the unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked up to 5.9% from 5.8%, while the closely watched average hourly earnings, a gauge of wage inflation, rose 0.3% last month, lower than the consensus forecast for a 0.4% increase.

Eyes will be trained on the minutes of the Federal Open Markets Committee meeting from last month, when policymakers surprised markets by signalling two rate hikes by the end of 2023.

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