Asia starts the week in a cautious mood
Friday’s US Non-Farm Payroll data dampened inflation fears and lifted US stock markets. NFP rose by 559,000 jobs, a slight miss to consensus, but much less bad than April’s number.
The S&P 500 rose 0.88%, the Nasdaq leapt 1.47% higher, and the Dow Jones climbed 0.52% in a very business-as-usual session. US index futures have retreated slightly in Asia, falling around 0.10% in muted trading.
Asia has refused to blithely follow Wall Street higher today, presenting a much more mixed picture. The Yellen interest rate comments adding a note of caution. The Nikkei 225 is 0.35% higher, while the Kospi has added 0.15%. Mainland China markets have fallen, though, after export data underperformed this morning. The Shanghai Composite is 0.20% lower while the CSI 300 has fallen by 0.45%, with Hong Kong 0.80% lower.
Singapore has risen by 0.75%, with Kuala Lumpur down 0.75% and Taipei edging 0.40% lower. Jakarta is flat while Bangkok has risen 0.80%, with Manila falling 0.45%. Australian markets have shrugged off an impressive rise in ANZ Job Advertisements and an upgrade in outlook by S&P. The ASX 200 is down 0.30%, with the All Ordinaries edging 0.15% lower.
The next major risk point is next week’s FOMC meeting. The Fed may well insist that with over 7 million fewer Americans in jobs than before the pandemic, no change, or even talk of change, in monetary policy is required. The US NFIB Survey on Friday showed unfilled positions in small businesses has climbed to record highs of 48%. The survey suggests that employers will have to pay up to get people back to work through or wait for the summer season and those unemployment benefits to run their course. All of which is likely to be inflationary but the market has no way of knowing if it is transitory or structural.
Without an overriding theme to drive direction today, local markets have been left to their own devices as Asia seems content to await developments in Northern Hemisphere markets as the week gets started.
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