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Asia shares mostly up after Wall Street rally

Asian markets were mostly higher Monday, following a Wall Street rally on upbeat jobs data, while the dollar and euro held on to healthy gains made against the yen at the end of last week.

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, while Sydney fell 0.28 percent, or 13.6 points, to 4,907.5.

In the afternoon Hong Kong added 0.45 percent and Shanghai rose 0.31 percent.

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 edged down slightly on profit-taking on Monday in Tokyo forex trade.

The dollar bought 92.60 yen against 92.80 yen in New York late Friday, while the euro sat at 126.16 yen and $1.3624, 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 23 cents to $97.54 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for March also shed 29 cents to $116.47.

Gold was at $1,671.30 at 0630 GMT compared with $1,665.35 late Friday.

In other markets:

-- 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.

-- 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.