US data with much of Asia in holiday mode, attention focused on the discouraging U.S. employment figures for January released on Friday. U.S. employers added 151,000 jobs last month, a sharp deceleration from recent months as companies shed education, transportation and temporary workers. The employment report lends weight to the case for the Federal Reserve to delay interest rate hikes, which is a positive for stock markets, but also adds to signs of weakness in major economies.
All eyes will be on Janet Yellen’s semi-annual testimony to Congress this week and there will be much focus on her vision around the impact tighter financial conditions have had on economics.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.1 percent to 17,004.30 while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 4,975.40. Thailand’s SET added 0.5 percent to 1,312.50. India’s Sensex was down 0.6 percent at 23,459.99. Markets were closed in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines for Lunar New Year holidays. New Zealand’s stock market was closed for a national holiday.
Benchmark U.S. crude inched up 9 cents to $30.97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures contract fell 83 cents to $30.89 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 8 cents to $34.12 a barrel in London.The dollar rose to 116.92 yen from 116.82 yen on Friday. The euro rose to $1.1179 from $1.1160.
Oil fell even after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela met to discuss cooperating to stabilize the market. While Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said he held “successful” talks with his Venezuelan counterpart Eulogio del Pino on ways of cooperating to stabilize the market, he didn’t specify any steps producers could take to shore up prices.
West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 2.5 percent to $30.09 a barrel and Brent slid 1.8 percent to $33.44.
|Australia: S&P/ASX 200||4975.4||-0.8||-0.02%|
|China: Shanghai Composite||2763.49||-17.53||-0.63%|
|Hong Kong: Hang Seng||19288.17||105.08||0.55%|
|India: S&P BSE Sensex||24287.42||-329.55||-1.34%|
|Japan: Nikkei 225||17004.30||184.71||1.10%|
|Singapore: Straits Times||2623.21||64.72||2.53%|