Asian shares rise on brightening US economic prospects

Asian stocks basked in the glow of a record close on Wall Street after bright US jobs data pointed to improving economic momentum, while the dollar gained on Monday on rising US Treasury yields.

US jobs data on Friday showed that nonfarm payrolls increased by 217,000 last month, bringing employment back to its pre-recession level and validating the view that labour conditions are improving. The unemployment rate held steady at a 5-1/2 year low of 6.3%.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up about 0.2%, while Japan's Nikkei stock average added 0.7% in early trading.

The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 ended at new records on Friday. For the week, the Dow, the S&P and the Nasdaq Composite all added more than 1%, with the Nasdaq rising 1.9%.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasuries stood at 2.598%, steady from Friday's US close of 2.597% and well above 11-month lows plumbed last month.

By contrast, Italian, Spanish and Irish bond yields fell to record lows on Friday, a day after the European Central Bank unveiled a package of easing steps.

"The yield on 10-year US Treasuries may need to sustain a move back above [the] 2.6% area to increase the likelihood of the greenback move through the 102.80 level against the yen," Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, said in a note to clients.

For now, the dollar had to be content with a 0.2% gain to buy 102.64 yen, getting some help from Japanese current account data released early on Monday.

Japan posted a lower-than-expected surplus in April, as income gains from overseas investments narrowed and the trade deficit widened. Still, it marked the third consecutive month of surpluses.

Other data on Monday showed Japan's economy grew 1.6% in January-March from the previous quarter, revised up from a preliminary 1.5% expansion due to faster growth in capital expenditure.

The euro also gained on its Japanese counterpart, edging up 0.2% to buy 140.07 yen, testing its highest levels since mid-May.

Against the greenback, the euro was steady on the day at $1.3647.

In commodities trading, US crude gained about 0.1% to $102.72 a barrel, underpinned by the solid jobs report that pointed to an improving economy and suggested that oil demand will increase.


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