US Jobs Report Lifts Asia, Nikkei Hits 10-Month High

Asian markets rose on Monday after the latest U.S. employment numbers showed signs of a stabilizing job market, raising hopes that the United States can lead the world out of a recession.

The Nikkei 225 hit its highest close in 10 months, up 1.1 percent, while the broader Topix climbed 1.3 percent.

Japanese construction machinery makers advanced on data showing a rise in June machinery orders, the first rise in four months after touching a record low last month. Komatsu and Hitachi Construction were among the gainers. But the outlook was weak as manufacturers forecast a sixth straight quarterly fall in machinery orders in July-September, suggesting they remain wary of expanding their production capacity despite signs of a global economic recovery.

Tiremaker Bridgestone also rolled higher to close up 5.6 percent, after it raised its full-year outlook due to effective cost cutting. Mitsubishi Rayon soared 19.7 percent after the Nikkei business daily said Mitsubishi Chemical was in talks to acquire the resin maker, in a deal worth up to $2.1 billion. Mitsubishi Chemical shares jumped 4.7 percent on the news.

South Korea's KOSPI ended flat after a choppy session, but continued foreign buying and gains by airlines and tour issues lent support to the index.

Shares in South Korean companies with presence in North Korea jumped, after media reported on Monday that Hyundai Group's chairwoman would visit Pyongyang to discuss the release of a detained Hyundai employee. Hyundai Merchant Marine, Kwangmyung Electric Engineering and Romanson all gained. But Hanjin Shipping extended losses to fall more than 2 percent after the company reported poor second-quarter results on Friday.

Shares in Woori Finance Holdings reversed earlier gains to close down 1 percent, after the South Korean financial group reported a 46 percent year-on-year fall in its net profit to 223.1 billion won. Samsung Securities also lost 1.5 percent despite reporting a stronger-than-expected 4.3 percent rise in its quarterly net profit.

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In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gave up most of its morning gains to end up 0.1 percent, as investors turned nervous ahead of the key earnings season this week. BHP Billiton, CBA and Telstra were among the key reports to watch out for.

Property investor Goodman Group surged after the firm raised US$1.1 billion through a share placement. Coal stocks also rallied on news that China's Yanzhou Coal has reached an agreement to takeover Felix Resources. Whitehaven Coal, Macarthur Coal and Centennial Coal all advanced. But Rio Tinto lost 3.3 percent after China accused the global miner of allegedly engaging in commercial syping over six years.

Greater China shares were mixed overall, but the Hang Seng Index powered up 3 percent as Chinese bank stocks, which were sold down in recent sessions, recovered on expectations of earnings upgrades from investment houses as the lenders begin reporting their first-half results in coming weeks.

MTR Corp jumped almost 4 percent aead of its first-half results announcement on Tuesday while China Huiyuan Juice Group dropped 4.1 percent after the juicemaker flagged a likely operating loss in the first half. GOME Electrical Appliances extended a loss to drop another 3 percent, even after the company said its business would not be affected by a court order freezing the assets of its former chairman. Meanwhile, Harbin Power Equipment was the biggest drag on the China Enterprises Index after the company recorded a 61.38 percent year-on-year drop in first-half profit due to higher product costs, thinner profit margins and an increase in provisions for impairment losses on assets.

The Shanghai Composite closed 0.3 percent lower, down for the fourth straight session on liquidity concerns, while Taiwan shares inched up 0.2 percent after a typhoon hit the island over the weekend.

In South-east Asia, Malaysia's KLCI was marginally higher while Singapore was closed for the National Day holiday.