Stocks, currencies, Australia retail sales

A pedestrian looks at an electronic quotation board showing numbers of the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo on September 11, 2020.

Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Stock markets in Asia-Pacific were broadly higher on Monday, shrugging off the weaker-than-expected April U.S. jobs reports; while oil futures advanced.

South Korea’s Kospi was one of the largest gainers, rising 1.6% in the first session of the week. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.5% and the Topix jumped 1%.

Greater China markets were mixed. The Shanghai composite was marginally up by 0.1%, while stocks in Shenzen jumped 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.3%.

Last week, the widely watched U.S. jobs report for April came in below expectations. The report showed U.S. employers added 266,000 net payrolls last month and the unemployment rate rose to 6.1%.

James Cheo, Southeast Asia chief investment officer at HSBC Private Banking and Wealth Management, said the U.S. jobs report wouldn’t hit investor sentiment.

“I think in terms of the jobs recovery it’s going to be extremely fragile … but I think the trajectory is still a jobs improvement so I don’t think it changes very much the investment thesis, the economic recovery is still very strong,” Cheo told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.

“And of course these setbacks would mean that the Federal Reserve would still keep interest rates extremely low and I think from that perspective, we are still in a sort of goldilocks environment which is still very conductive for risk assets across the world,” he added.

Over in Australia, retail sales for March increased 1.3% from the prior month — slightly missing the 1.4% forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. But business confidence in the country surged to a record high in April, according to a survey by the National Australia Bank.

The ASX 200 jumped 1% on Monday.

Currencies and oil

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