Asian Stocks Gain after a Strong NFP Report

nikkei, topix, asian

This morning, Asian markets began the week higher, as Japan led the winners. Sentiment was boosted by a stronger-than-expected non-farm payroll (NFP) report out the United States. The NFP was released Friday morning, Eastern Standard Time.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 rose nearly two percent and the broader base Topix was up nearly 1.5 percent as the yen weakened.

In the Down Under, the S&P ASX 200 was higher on the day as the financial sub-index, which is heavily weighted, rose 1.34 percent. The major Big 4 banks were up one percent each with the National Australia Bank or NAB rising 1.45 percent today.

In South Korea, the Kospi Composite was up moderately and shares in Hong Kong gained over one percent. On mainland China the stock bourses were lower on the day.

The US NFP Makes Asian Investors Cheer

The Fed has been telling us that the US economy would gather steam in the second half of 2016. This jobs report convinced investors, not only in the United States but in the Asian markets, they were right.

The NFP was another clear cut sign that that there is improving economic health in the world’s largest economy. The United States added 255,000 new jobs in July. Analysts and economists had expected a print of 180,000. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 4.9 percent and wages were up. For the year, wages are up a little over 2 percent.

There was a nice advance in workweek hours, hourly earnings and participation rate. This shows this latest NFP was a quality release. The latest NFP, before the next monetary policy meeting of the Fed, could mean a move sooner than later. There is a chance the Fed will raise rates in September or October.

After the release, US stock indices closed sharply higher with the S&P and Nasdaq setting fresh all-time highs.

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