Asian Shares Mixed In Thin Holiday Trading

Asian stocks were mixed in thin holiday trading on Monday as traders reacted to rising Covid-19 cases around the world, signs of firm U.S. growth and rising bond yields.

The dollar held largely steady as last week’s strong U.S. employment report, which showed a surge in new jobs in March and slight drop in unemployment, boosted hopes for a faster economic recovery and added to expectations that all the jobs lost during the pandemic could be recovered by the end of next year.

The U.S. manufacturing sector also saw robust growth in March, with a reading on activity in the sector reaching its highest level since December 1983.

Japanese shares advanced as a rise in U.S. bond yields after the release of the U.S. jobs data boosted bank shares. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial all rose about 3 percent.

The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 235.25 points, or 0.8 percent, to 30,089.25, while the broader Topix closed 0.6 percent higher at 1,983.54.

In the tech space, Advantest rallied 1.9 percent and Screen Holdings gained 1.4 percent. Market heavyweight SoftBank jumped 2.1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing advanced 2.4 percent.

Japanese service sector activity extended declines in March as businesses struggled to fully shake off the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a survey showed earlier today.

South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.3 percent at 3,120.83, extending gains for the third straight session buoyed by U.S. President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure and economic recovery plan.

Samsung Electronics rose 0.7 percent and SK Hynix climbed 1.4 percent, while LG Chem lost 1.3 percent. LG Electronics tumbled 2.5 percent after the company said it would wind down its loss-making mobile division.

India’s Sensex was down as much as 1.7 percent at 49, 195 as record new Covid-19 cases in the country stoked growth worries. The Covid-19 pandemic in India hit a grim milestone on Sunday, when daily cases crossed the 1-lakh mark for the first time.

The Australian market was closed on account of Easter Monday. Markets in New Zealand, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were also closed due to holidays.

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