THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 4, 2022 at 14:50 JST
A man walks past an electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index in Hong Kong, April 4, 2022. (AP Photo)
BANGKOK--Shares in Asia were mostly higher Monday as gains carried over from a strong finish last week on Wall Street.
Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul advanced while Shanghai was closed for a holiday. Oil prices nudged higher and U.S. futures were nearly unchanged.
Analysts said a healthy report Friday on the U.S. jobs market eased worries over the recovery from the pandemic, though it also reinforced the likelihood of more interest rate hikes.
Shares in Hong Kong-traded Chinese companies rose after a report that regulators in Beijing have agreed to allow U.S. regulators full access to their audit of those that have shares listed in New York.
The Chinese financial magazine Caixin reported that China proposed revising rules that restrict sharing financial data of offshore-traded companies in a step toward resolving a long-running dispute that could result in more than 200 Chinese stocks being kicked off U.S. exchanges. It would remove a requirement that on-site inspections of overseas-traded Chinese companies mainly be conducted by Chinese regulators, Caixin said.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 1.2 percent to 22,313.83 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.2 percent to 27,713.47. The Kospi in Seoul rose 0.3 percent, to 2,748.83. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 7,527.20 while India’s Sensex jumped 2 percent to 60,455.88.
On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent to 4,545.86. The benchmark index eked out a slight gain for the week, its third straight advance amid lingering concerns about high inflation, higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve and the economic effects of the war in Ukraine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4 to 34,818.27, while the Nasdaq rose 0.3 percent to 14,261.50. The Russell 2000 gained 1 percent to 2,091.11.
The government report showing employers added 431,000 jobs last month was slightly below economists’ expectations for 477,500 jobs but it included a revision of earlier months’ data to reflect more strength. It showed raises for workers accelerated last month but at a slower pace than overall inflation, while the unemployment rate improved to 3.6 percent from 3.7 percent.
A strong jobs market and economy give the Federal Reserve more leeway to raise interest rates sharply in order to beat down price increases sweeping the country. The Fed has already raised its key overnight rate once, the first such increase since 2018. Following Friday’s jobs report, traders increased bets that the Fed will raise rates at its next meeting by double the usual amount.
In the bond market, the yield on the two-year Treasury approached its highest level in more than three years, leaping to 2.45 percent from 2.28 percent late Thursday.
The two-year yield again surpassed the 10-year yield, which was also climbing, but not as quickly. As of early Monday, the 10-year yield was at 2.41 percent, up from 2.38 percent on Friday.
The two-year yield topped the 10-year yield for the first time since 2019 last week. That’s considered a potentially ominous sign a recession may be coming.
But it’s not a perfect predictor and some economists say markets may be distorted by extraordinary measures taken by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to keep interest rates low.
Oil and gas prices have been rising as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, a major oil and gas producer, has raised the risk that sanctions and export restrictions might crimp supplies.
A barrel of U.S. crude oil gained 2 cents to $99.29 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange early Monday. It dipped 1 percent on Friday to $99.27. Early last month, when disruptions to crude supplies were at their height, it briefly touched $130.
Brent crude, the international standard for pricing, picked up 13 cents to $104.52 per barrel.
In currency dealings, the dollar bought 122.62 Japanese yen, nearly unchanged from 122.61 late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1047 from $1.1042.
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