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Asian Stocks Mixed After US Jobs Data

Asian stocks were mixed on Monday after a higher open. Sentiment was supported by by a fall in the U.S. jobless rate which boosted stocks on Wall StreetFriday.

Japan's stocks extended gains to hit a nine-month high, helped by a weaker yen against the dollar and after generally strong Japanese corporate earnings reports last week.

The benchmark Nikkei ended up 0.5 percent or 48.52 points at 10,592.04, after earlier hitting 10,644.21, its highest since May 6.

The broader Topix added 0.5 percent to 940.43.

Seoul shares closed higher, led by financial issues such as Woori Finance Holdings, which gained 3.5 percent.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ended up 0.47 percent at 2,081.74 points.

Australian stocks rose 0.1 percent, helped by gains in banks and insurers, but retailers plunged after top department store Myer revealed a surprising drop in January sales.

Myer shares fell 11.5 percent to a 7-month low of A$3.32 on eight times its average volume after the retailer said earnings would fall as much as 5 percent this year, versus earlier expectations for a rise of as much as 10 percent.

The profit warning, which follows similar announcements from top grocer Woolworths and bargain store The Reject Shop, dragged other retailers lower. David Jones fell 4.2 percent to A$4.53 while Harvey Norman fell 3.6 percent to A$2.93.

Losses were aggravated by December retail data, which showed sales expanded 0.2 percent from the previous month, well short of expectations for a 0.5 percent rise.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 5.8 points to 4,868.5, its highest close since Apr. 27. It rose 0.9 percent on Friday.

The top four banks rose, led by Commonwealth Bank of Australiawith a 0.8 percent gain. CBA reports earnings on Wednesday while investment bank Macquarie Group and National Australia Bank give quarterly trading updates on Tuesday. Macquarie fell 1.3 percent while NAB gained 0.6 percent on Monday.

Electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi bucked the weakness in the retail sector to rise 1.8 percent to A$19.43, after it said net earnings would rise 13-17 percent this year.

Singapore shares moved lower on Monday, with casino operator Genting Singapore coming under pressure after rival casino operator Las Vegas Sands posted poorer-than-expected results last week.

The Straits Times Index ended down 0.6 percent, at 3,211.12.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index closed down 1.5 percent.

The FTSE CNBC Asia 100 index dipped 0.4 percent.

China and Taiwan markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.