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Asian Stock Markets Rise as Commodity Prices Jump

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks rose on Monday as geopolitical tensions eased, commodity prices advanced and the latest jobs report showed the U.S. economy added the biggest number of jobs in over 1-1/2 years in February. Wages have lagged behind the growth in employment, helping ease investor fears over a faster pace of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Chinese stocks rose for a third day as easing trade war fears helped lift material stocks. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 19.16 points 0.6 percent to 3,326.33, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was surged up 598.12 points or 1.9 percent to 31,594.33.

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Japanese shares rallied but ended off their day’s highs on worries that a suspected cronyism scandal involving the sale of state-owned land could hit Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s popularity.

Also, Japan’s business survey index of large manufacturers weakened notably in the three months ended March, the quarterly survey by the Ministry of Finance and the Cabinet Office showed, triggering some profit taking.

The Nikkei 225 Index ended 354.83 points or 1.7 percent higher at 21,824.03 after reaching as high as 21,971.16 earlier in the day.

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The broader Topix index rose 1.51 percent to 1,741.30, led by exporters, steelmakers and technology stocks. Canon, Panasonic, Sumco, Tokyo Electron, Nippon Steel and Japan Steel Works gained 2-3 percent.

Australian shares gained ground, led higher by financials and material stocks as the latest U.S. jobs report stoked optimism about global growth and base metal prices recovered on the back of news that Australia would be exempt from new U.S. trade tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 32.90 points or 0.6 percent to 5,996.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended 0.5 percent higher at 6,101.40.

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Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto jumped over 2 percent each while steel producer Bluescope Steel advanced 3.7 percent. The big four banks rose around half a percent each.

Oil Search, Santos, Origin Energy and Woodside Petroleum rallied 1-3 percent after crude oil prices gained more than 3 percent on Friday.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining tumbled 4.6 percent after a dam wall breach led to operations being suspended at its main mine.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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