* MSCI Asia ex-Japan falls, weak China data stokes growth
* Nikkei jumps 4.9 pct as dollar gains vs yen after jobs
* AUD hits 20-month low, copper a 3-week low on soft China
* European shares likely to ease
By Chikako Mogi
TOKYO, June 10 Japanese shares soared on Monday,
tracking a rally in global stocks as U.S. jobs data was solid
but not strong enough to spawn new worry about near-term
tapering of the Federal Reserve's stimulus, while Asian shares
eased on weak China data.
China May data, released over the weekend, showed unexpected
weakness in trade and domestic activity struggling to pick up.
Chinese imports fell 0.3 percent against expectations for a 6
percent rise as the volume of major metals imports, including
copper and alumina, fell at double-digit rates. Coal imports
The inflation rate fell in May while growth in new loans
slowed and industrial output slightly undershot expectations.
Analyst Sijin Cheng at Barclays Capital in Singapore said
the firm has lowered its forecast for China's growth this year
to 7.4 percent from 7.9 percent.
London copper fell to its lowest since mid-May on
Monday while the commodity-sensitive Australian dollar dropped
more than 1 percent to a 20-month low of $0.9393,
before recovering to $0.9427.
"People have adjusted expectations for China growth, but I
don't think they are adjusted to the new reality and how that
will play out in the market," said Hong Hao, chief strategist at
Bank of Communication International Securities.
"In this new reality, you can't just pile on investment to
stimulate growth because of significant leverage and the Chinese
economy may not respond to interest rate cuts," Hong added.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
fell 0.2 percent, extending Friday's 1.07
percent drop. Hong Kong shares rose 0.3 percent. South
Korean shares rose 0.5 percent after sliding 1.8 percent
on Friday, the biggest daily percentage fall in nearly 11
Markets in Australia and China are closed on Monday for
European stock markets are likely to edge lower, with
financial spreadbetters predicting London's FTSE 100,
Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX will open
down 0.2 percent. A 0.1 percent rise in U.S. stock futures
pointed to firmer Wall Street start.
MORE DATA NEEDED
Markets regained some stability on Monday after high
volatility the past two weeks. They had been hit by concerns the
Fed will weaken a stimulus commitment that's boosted risk
appetites, and then by speculation Friday's jobs data would
disappoint and cause worries about the U.S. economy.
Analysts and traders now will look at coming U.S. data for
clues on the timing of the potential tapering and at the Bank of
Japan's policy meeting this week for any signs of further
stimulus after a recent plunge in Japanese stocks and a sharp
rise in the yen spooked investors.
The U.S. jobs data "didn't suggest an imminent tapering, but
it still pointed to the direction of the Fed scaling back its
quantitative easing at some point, leaving an element of
uncertainty," said Ayako Sera, senior market economist at
Sumitomo Trust Bank in Tokyo.
"U.S. retail sales this week and more upcoming data could
spur further price adjustments as they will likely help converge
market views on the outlook for Fed policy," she said.
While the better-than-expected U.S. nonfarm payrolls boosted
U.S. and European stocks and the dollar, Treasury prices fell as
the debt market focused on views that if U.S. labour conditions
continued to improve, it would prompt the Fed later this year to
scale down its monthly buying of $85 billion in Treasuries and
An improving U.S. economy underpinned U.S. crude futures
, which steadied at $96.06 a barrel, while Brent
inched down 0.1 percent at $104.52.
The U.S. dollar extended its gains against the yen to above
98 yen, having briefly fallen below 95 to a fresh
two-month low on Friday and giving up gains made since the Bank
of Japan's unprecedented stimulus unveiled on April 4. Last
month, the U.S. currency hit a 4-1/2-year peak of 103.74 against
The dollar's rebound galvanized the Japanese stock market.
The Nikkei average soared nearly 5 percent in its best
day since March 2011. On Friday, it had shed as much as 2.8
percent on Friday, which temporarily pushed the index into bear
market territory, losing 20 percent from a 5-1/2 year high two
The Nikkei had taken a heavy beating partly due to concerns
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cannot meet expectations for results
from Japan's stimulus measures.
Abe said on Sunday the government would decide on tax cuts
in the autumn to encourage companies to boost capital
expenditure as part of sweeping reforms to revive the economy.
The measures would add to a series of steps the government
unveiled in a draft of its growth strategy last week.
In a fresh sign Japan's aggressive policies to stimulate
growth are paying early dividends, its current account surplus
doubled in April from a year earlier, and bank lending posted
its biggest annual rise in more than three years.
The BOJ, kicking off its two-day policy meeting on Monday,
may take further steps this week to curb volatility in the
government bond market.