Asian stock markets rallied Monday as better-than-expected jobs data from the U.S. and optimism at European action to boost the faltering regional economy buoyed sentiment.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei surged 2 percent or 171.18 points to 8726.29, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.70 percent or 333.82 points to 20000 and South Korea's Seoul Composite climbed 2.01 percent or 37.20 points to 1885.88, while the Chinese Shanghai Composite advanced 1.04 percent and India's benchmark BSE Sensex surged 1.14 percent.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that 160,000 jobs were added in July, far higher than the economists' estimate of 95,000 to 100,000 jobs, easing concerns on the pace of jobs recovery in the world’s largest economy. However, the rate of unemployment rose to 8.3 percent as more Americans gave up trying to find a job and kept hopes of more Fed quantitative easing alive.
Sentiment was also boosted after officials from the troika comprising the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, said on Sunday that Greece had made progress in finding the budget cuts to receive the bailout package. Greece has pledged a series of fiscal and reform measures worth 11.5 billion euros to secure further tranches of international bailout loans and avoid bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, the market’s disappointment over the central banks' failure to announce immediate measures was fairly short-lived as the ECB's strong tone in recent days, and its President Mario Draghi's comments at a press conference in Frankfurt, suggest that the central bank will prepare something in coordination with the governments in the coming weeks to boost the weakening euro zone economy.
“The ECB’s decision and statement last week have been interpreted as merely delaying the inevitable, with stronger action expected from the central bank over coming weeks. Against this backdrop, markets will begin the week in positive tone and risk assets are likely to extend gains early in the week,” said a note from Credit Agricole.
Japanese shares rallied, led by gains from automakers and exporters. Isuzu Motors Ltd. climbed 6.43 percent, Honda Motor Co Ltd. gained 2.79 percent and Daiwa Securities Group advanced 2.15 percent, while Toyota Motor Corp. surged 2.45 percent after reporting better-than-expected earnings on Friday.
Energy shares went up across the region. Inpex Corp. surged 4.09 percent in Tokyo, while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. gained 3.86 percent and CNOOC Ltd gained 2.22 percent in Hong Kong.
The stocks in China and Hong Kong advanced after the upbeat U.S. data. The PBoC also issued a statement over the weekend, saying that it would intensify its monetary policy fine-tuning in the second half and improve credit policy to bolster the real economy. Sino Land Co Ltd. surged 5.30 percent and HSBC Holdings Plc. advanced 2.13 percent.
Among other stocks, Samsung Electronics Co. surged 4.42 percent and STX Corp gained 2.10 percent in Seoul, while Reliance Industries went up 5.26 percent and Wockhardt Ltd surged 4.69 percent in India.