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Japan’s Nikkei 225 surges nearly 2% as stocks continue to see gains for second day

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SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed in Monday trade following U.S. jobs data released Friday that came in far short of expectations.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was among the biggest gainers regionally, rising 1.75% in afternoon trade. That followed its surge of 2.05% on Friday after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he will not be running in the upcoming leadership election. The Topix advanced 1.24%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher by the afternoon as the Shanghai composite gained 1.02% and the Shenzhen component jumped 2.164%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.51%.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi sat fractionally lower. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.33%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.45%.

In Thailand, the SET Composite index was flat in Monday trade. That came after the country’s prime minister and several other cabinet ministers survived a vote of no confidence in parliament over the weekend, Reuters reported.

U.S. jobs data released Friday came in far short of expectations, with the economy adding just 235,000 positions in August. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 720,000 new hires.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate declined to 5.2% from 5.4%, in line with estimates.

“In our view, the setback in the recovery in the labour market and the jump in serious covid infections will encourage the FOMC to wait before it announces it will taper its monthly asset purchases. We now expect the FOMC to announce an $US10bn taper of its monthly asset purchases at its 3 November meeting,” analysts at Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote in a Monday note.

U.S. markets are closed on Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.12% to $71.80 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dipped 1.07% to $68.55 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.207 after a recent slide from above 92.4.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.82 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110.1 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7435, having climbed from below $0.732 last week.

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