Asia shares mixed, Wall St rally offset by profit-taking

Asian markets were mixed on Monday as late profit-taking offset a rally on Wall Street that was fuelled by upbeat jobs data out of the United States.

The euro and dollar were mixed against the yen after racking up healthy gains in New York on Friday.

Tokyo closed 0.62 percent higher, adding 69.01 points to a 33-month high of 11,260.35, while Seoul slipped 0.23 percent, or 4.58 points, to 1,953.21, and Sydney fell 0.28 percent, or 13.6 points, to 4,907.5.

Hong Kong fell 0.16 percent as dealers cashed in profits after the index spent most of the day in positive territory and around 21-month highs. The Hang Seng Index fell 36.83 points to end at 23,685.01, while Shanghai rose 0.38 percent, or 9.13 points, to 2,428.15.

US traders sent the Dow to a more than five-year high Friday on the back of the latest jobs data.

The labour department report showed employers added 157,000 jobs in January, fewer than expected, and the jobless rate inched up to 7.9 percent.

However, revised data for all of 2012 showed net job growth at an average of 181,000 a month, up from a prior estimate of 153,000.

The Dow rallied 1.08 percent to 14,009.79, above 14,000 points for the first time since October 2007. The index is just shy of the record high 14,164.53 seen on October 9, 2007.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 1.01 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 1.18 percent.

"The economic momentum in the US is quite good," Khiem Do, head of Asian multi-asset at Baring Asset Management in Hong Kong, told Dow Jones Newswires.

"The US is basking in good news at the moment because the debt negotiations have kicked the can down the road," he added, referring to a delay until May to negotiations on raising the country's debt ceiling.

And UniCredit's Harm Bandholz in the United States said the updates to the 2012 data "highlight even more how remarkably resilient the US labor market has been over the last two quarters".

The jobs figures sent the dollar and euro higher against the yen on Friday, and the units were mixed in early European trade Monday.

The dollar bought 92.90 yen against 92.80 yen in New York late on Friday, while the euro sat at 126.35 yen and $1.3600, compared with 126.60 yen and $1.3637.

Eyes will turn later in the week to China, which is due to release key data on inflation and trade ahead of the Chinese New Year public holiday. Australia's central bank will also announce the outcome of its policy setting meeting, with analysts expecting it to keep interest rates on hold.

Oil prices fell, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, dropping 49 cents to $97.28 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for March also shed 50 cents to $116.26.

Gold was at $1,665.40 at 1045 GMT compared with $1,665.35 late Friday.

In other markets:

-- Singapore's Straits Times Index closed up 0.19 percent, or 6.23 points, to 3,297.37.

United Overseas Bank gained 2.12 percent to Sg$19.27 and Singapore Airlines advanced 1.80 percent to Sg$11.30.

-- Kuala Lumpur shares gained 7.0 points, or 0.43 percent, to close at 1,634.55.

IHH Healthcare inched up 0.3 percent to 3.30 ringgit, while Malayan Banking added 1.0 percent to 8.97. AirAsia fell 1.1 percent to 2.75 ringgit.

-- Jakarta ended up 8.93 points, at 0.20 percent, at 4490,565.

Carmaker Astra International rose rose 2.01 percent to 7,600 rupiah, food manufacturer Indofood Sukses Makmur jumped 1.68 percent to 6,050 rupiah, and Telekomunikasi Indonesia increased 0.52 percent to 9,700 rupiah.

-- Bangkok added 0.48 percent or 7.15 points to 1,506.37.

Telecoms company True Corp. lost 2.94 percent to 6.60 baht, while Kiatnakin Bank jumped 7.21 percent to 55.75 baht.

-- Taipei rose 0.86 percent, or 67.19 points, to 7,923.16.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 1.48 percent higher at Tw$103.0 while Fubon Financial Holding rallied 3.56 percent to Tw$39.3.

-- Mumbai's Sensex index slid 0.15 percent, or 30.0 points, to 19,751.19, its third straight day of declines, on weak earnings data from local firms.

India's engineering giant Bharat Heavy Electricals fell 2.73 percent to 219.2 rupees while commercial bank State Bank of India fell 2.41 percent to 2,351.85.

-- Manila rose 1.86 percent, or 117.37 points, to 6,435.98, a new record.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. added 2.13 percent to 2,880 pesos and Ayala Corp. gained 4.8 percent to 574 pesos.

-- Wellington ended flat, edging up 0.47 points to 4,246,40.

Air New Zealand was up 2.38 percent at NZ$1.29 and Fletcher Building slipped 2.23 percent to NZ$9.19.

--

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