Asia stocks tick upward ahead of Fed meeting
BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly higher in early trading Monday, with investors betting that the Federal Reserve will likely announce new plans to stimulate the U.S. economy in response to a disappointing jobs report.
The U.S. government reported Friday that 96,000 jobs were created in the U.S. last month, fewer than economists had forecast.
That helped lift stocks since investors now think the Fed might announce another round of bond-buying at its next meeting on Sept. 13 to help lower interest rates and thus boost loan growth.
"Risk rallies continued on hopes for further easing from the Fed," analysts from Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said in a market commentary. "With soft U.S. jobs data, we expect that the FOMC will announce a new large-scale asset purchase programme at the meeting."
Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.2 percent to 8,855.65. South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 1,932.19 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3 percent to 19,853.54. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, mainland China and New Zealand also rose. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was nearly unchanged at 4.325.40.
The Dow Jones industrial average barely rose in light trading Friday following the U.S. jobs report, up 0.1 percent to close at 13,306.64. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.4 percent to 1,437.92. The Nasdaq composite index rose less than 1 point to 3,136.42.
Benchmark oil for October delivery fell 8 cents to $96.34 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 89 cents to finish at $96.42 per barrel on the Nymex on Friday.
In currencies, the euro dipped slightly to $1.2793 from $1.2795 late Friday in New York. The dollar fell to 78.20 yen from 78.29 yen.
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