Asian stocks eked out gains on Monday in wake of much stronger-than-expected U.S. employment numbers, although sobering data highlighted the sluggishness in the region’s key economies and tempered gains. The dollar hovered at multi-year highs against the yen after Treasury yields spiked on the robust U.S. employment report.
Indicators released on Monday showed that China’s trade performance in November was much weaker than expected while Japan’s economy in the third quarter shrank more than initially reported. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS inched up 0.1 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei .N225 stood flat as the downward revision to Japan’s GDP neutralised the positive impact of a weaker yen.
The Shanghai composite index .SSEC gained 1.5 percent after the downbeat Chinese data added to hopes that China will implement more stimulus to shore up its economy. “Shockingly, (China’s) imports contracted by 6.7 percent year-on-year – their weakest performance since the Lehman crisis (except the volatile Lunar New Year-related period), said Dariusz Kowalczyk, economist at Credit Agricole in Hong Kong.