* Asian shares follow Wall St rally after upbeat US jobs
* Commodities also strong, copper eyed after surge
* Malaysian stocks, currency up after incumbent wins
* Aussie falters as monthly retail sales disappoints
By Ian Chua and Vidya Ranganathan
SYDNEY/SINGAPORE, May 6 Asian stocks rose on
Monday as investors gave the thumbs up to an upbeat U.S. labour
force report that sent Wall Street to an all-time closing high
last week, while the dollar held its ground against the yen.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
climbed nearly one percent with Australia's main
share index also about a percent higher. Malaysian
shares were the biggest gainers, rising 3 percent after
the ruling coalition government won a tight election.
Japanese financial markets are shut on Monday for a public
holiday and will reopen on Tuesday.
The gains in stock markets came after data on Friday showed
U.S. employment rose at a faster pace than expected in April and
hiring was much stronger than previously thought in the prior
two months, a relief to investors nervous about a U.S. slowdown.
But other U.S. data, including a survey of the vast services
sectors, was less encouraging and led investors to suspect that
the Federal Reserve will probably maintain its aggressive
"We take the April employment report, in conjunction with
other data, as supportive of the Fed keeping its (debt) purchase
programme intact," analysts at Barclays Capital wrote in a note.
"Labour market and inflation trends are soft enough to
reduce the likelihood of tapering, in our view, but steady
enough to keep the Fed from increasing the pace of its
The data helped lift U.S. Treasury yields. The dollar
however was less consistent, gaining against the Australian
dollar and keeping Friday's gains against the low-yielding yen,
but losing ground to emerging Asian currencies.
Having rallied more than 1 percent against the yen on
Friday, the dollar last traded at 99.06 yen, nearly flat
on the day. It is within a hair's breath of a 4-year peak near
100 scaled last month.
The yen was likely to stay on the defensive after the boost
to risk sentiment from the better-than-expected U.S. jobs data,
said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo
Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.
"Rather than dollar strength, the sentiment is more along
the lines of going risk-on. It feels like yen-selling with
cross/yen pairs leading the way," Okagawa said.
While other currencies in Asia outperformed the greenback,
the Aussie slipped 0.3 percent to $1.0285, although it
stayed off last week's low near $1.0220.
The decline followed local retail sales data, where the
monthly data disappointed markets but the quarterly number,
coupled with U.S. jobs data, gave markets reason to slightly
tone down expectations of a cut in interest rates at the Reserve
Bank of Australia's policy meeting on Tuesday.
Commodities also added to gains, having powered higher on
Friday in the wake of the U.S. jobs report. U.S. crude rose more
than one percent towards $97.00 a barrel, reaching fresh
Copper is in focus after it stole the limelight with a
6.5-percent rally to $7,270.00 on Friday.
However, to put its move in perspective, copper had fallen
nearly 20 percent in the past three months partly on worries
about a slowing global economy.
Malaysia's ringgit and stock market were however the
regional standouts on Monday, with the ringgit hitting a
20-month high after Sunday's election saw the governing
coalition extend its half-century rule, albeit with its
The National Front, or Barisan National (BN), won 133 seats
in the 222-member parliament in Sunday's election, although it
failed to regain the two-thirds majority it lost for the first
time in 2008.