After a Friday report showing resilience in the U.S. job market, shares were generally higher in Asia Monday.
In Tokyo and Seoul, benchmarks were higher than in Shanghai. After the Good Friday holiday in many countries, markets were closed in Hong Kong (and Sydney) last week. U.S. futures rose and oil prices increased.
The eagerly awaited report on U.S. Employment showed that while hiring has slowed, it remained stable last month.
Friday's jobs report revealed that American employers added 236,000 jobs in February, which was a decrease from February's 326,000. It was slightly lower than economists expected and slightly below economists expectations. To match expectations, wages grew 0.3% in February. However, year-over-year wage growths slowed to 4.2% rather than 4.6%.
The delicate balance between reducing inflation and preventing economies from falling into recession is a challenge for Asian central banks.
Monday's Asian trading saw Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index rise 0.4% to 27633.98. The Kospi jumped 1% to 2,515.49.
The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.1% to 3,326.17 in its early gains. Stocks rose in Taiwan, but declined in Southeast Asia.
The Federal Reserve must decide whether to increase interest rates to lower inflation that is still high, or if to hold off due to signs of slowing economic growth.
Stephen Innes, of SPI Asset Management commented that "I suspect we're entering the peak uncertainty stage around the Fed’s next move as investors debate whether credit tightening due to financial stress will be sufficient to warrant cuts or are we heading for further hikes."
As was the case with many European markets, the U.S. stock exchange was closed on Good Friday. The U.S. bond markets were the only ones that were open to respond to the most recent jobs update.
The bond market immediately favored another hike. Treasury yields rose, but so did bets that the Fed would raise rates by a quarter of a percent more in May's meeting.
The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 3.40%, from 3.30% on Thursday. It was at 3.377% on Monday morning.
The Fed wants to create a more stable job market. Although raising rates is one of the most effective ways for the Fed to reduce inflation, it's also a blunt tool that slows the economy. This increases the chance of a recession, and lowers the prices for stocks and bonds as well as other investments.
This week's latest monthly update of prices consumers pay on Wednesday will bring you more data. Economists anticipate it will show inflation slowing, but still well above the Fed target.
Many economists believe that a recession is likely to occur in the second half of this year. Some economists believe that there is still a small chance that the Fed could raise rates enough to bring inflation under control, but not so much as to cause a severe recession.
U.S. benchmark crude oil rose 7 cents to $80.77 a barrel in other electronic trading. Brent crude, an international standard, was 1 cent higher at $85.13 per barrel.
From 132.16 Japanese yen, the dollar rose to 132.57 Japanese Yuan. The euro was steady at $1.0902.