Asia Markets

Asia trades higher as investors remain upbeat about the better-than-expected US jobs report

Key Points
  • Asia markets mostly rose on Monday as investors in the region reacted to a strong U.S. jobs number released Friday
  • The dollar traded at a relatively stronger level, compared to the previous week
  • Australia's Commonwealth Bank said a software coding error resulted in the vast majority of anti-money laundering law breaches it was accused of last week
Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images

Asia markets closed mostly higher on Monday, with investors' risk sentiment likely improving from Friday's better-than-expected U.S. jobs number as they await to hear Pyongyang's response to U.N. sanctions over the weekend.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday over its intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. Reuters said the sanctions could slash the reclusive regime's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.

Some analysts, however, said it is unlikely that the sanctions could deter leader Kim Jong Un from pursuing his nuclear weapons ambitions.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 53.01 points, or 0.93 percent, to 5,773.60, with most sectors closing higher. The energy and materials sectors gained 1.48 percent and 1.49 percent, respectively. The heavily-weighted financials subindex added 0.98 percent.

Shares of Commonwealth Bank reversed early losses to close up 0.99 percent. The bank said a "coding error" on the software was responsible for the "vast majority" of anti-money laundering law breaches it was accused of last week by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.

Commonwealth Bank said it will file a statement of defense and that it does not "intend to litigate this matter publicly."

Shares of other major banks Down Under also rose: ANZ shares climbed 1.05 percent, Westpac was up 1.27 percent and the National Australia Bank added 0.84 percent.

Major Australian miners also advanced, with Rio Tinto shares closing up 1.7 percent, Fortescue adding 2.8 percent and BHP Billiton climbing 1.71 percent.

Japan's rose 103.56 points, or 0.52 percent, to 20,055.89, and the Topix index gained 7.82 points, or 0.48 percent, to 1,639.27.

Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi closed up 3.3 points, or 0.14 percent, at 2,398.75. In the Greater China region, Taiwan's benchmark Taiex index added 72.82 points, or 0.69 percent, to 10,579.38. Hong Kong's rose 0.42 percent in late-afternoon trade.

Mainland Chinese shares also rose. The composite reversed early losses to close up 17.46 points, or 0.54 percent, at 3,279.54, and the Shenzhen composite added 13.79 points, or 0.74 percent, to 1,872.28.

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Elsewhere, the , which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, traded at 93.441, rising from levels below 92.800 late last week. The dollar received a small boost on Friday, following the jobs report — the U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, according to the Labor Department. That was well above the expected gain of 183,000.

The record closing of the Dow Jones industrial average, alongside the strong jobs number, last week was a "warning shot to die-hard dollar bears," Mizuho Bank senior economist Vishnu Varathan said in a Monday note.

Rick Rieder, BlackRock's chief investment officer of global fixed income, said in a note that the U.S. Federal Reserve will likely be "comforted by the continued strength in the labor markets, and by firming inflation figures, so we think its policy normalization plan will remain on track."

Among other currency majors, the Japanese yen traded at 110.73 to the dollar at 3:12 p.m. HK/SIN, weakening a touch from levels near 110.00 in the last week. Major export stocks finished the Monday session higher: Toyota was up 1.98 percent, Nissan added 0.51 percent and Mitsubishi Electric gained 0.64 percent.

A weaker yen is seen as a positive for exporters because it increases the value of overseas earnings when they are translated back into their home currency.

Toyota, one of the largest automakers in the world, released its first-quarter earnings for fiscal 2018 on Friday, where it revised its consolidated financial forecasts for the fiscal year. Toyota expects full-year operating income of 1.85 trillion yen ($16.7 billion) — up from an earlier forecast of 1.6 trillion yen.

Toshiba shares, meanwhile, surged 5.86 percent after reports cited the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun newspaper that said the troubled conglomerate's auditor will sign off on its financial results for the year ended March.

SoftBank Group shares rose 2.38 percent. The internet and telecommunications giant reported first-quarter earnings after market close, saying operating income rose 50.1 percent to 479.2 billion yen ($4.33 billion) for the period.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar traded at $0.7924 and the euro was at $1.1782 at 3:18 p.m. HK/SIN.

Oil prices moved lower Monday afternoon Asia time, with U.S. crude trading down 0.54 percent at $49.31, while global benchmark Brent was down 0.59 percent at $52.11.