Japan’s Nikkei climbed to more than a three-month high on Monday morning as a weaker yen lifted hopes that exporters’ earnings will recover after data showing slower than expected U.S. jobs growth still left intact expectations for a U.S. rate hike this year. The Nikkei rose 1.3 percent to 17,142.32 in mid morning trade after hitting as high as 17,146.91, the highest level since May 31.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 151,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, below the 180,000 jobs that economists had expected. The dollar quickly jumped back to 103.74 yen after having fallen to 102.80 yen following the underwhelming U.S. payrolls data. Although the data reduced chances of an imminent U.S. rate increase, a Federal Reserve official’s hawkish comments kept the door open for an increase later this year.
“For Japanese stocks, the result turned out to be positive after U.S. stocks rose and the yen weakened,” said Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities. He said that expectations that Japan Inc.’s earnings will gradually recover on a weak yen may support the market for the time being.
Insurance stocks, banks and exporters attracted buying, with Dai-ichi Life Insurance rising 2.6 percent and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings surging 2.7 percent.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 2.3 percent and Nissan Motor Co gained 1.6 percent. On the other hand, the food sector underperformed, with Kikkoman Corp falling 0.6 percent and Ajinomoto Co dropping 0.8 percent.
Meanwhile, TDK Corp jumped 7.6 percent after saying that it and Toshiba Corp have agreed to establish joint venture TDK Automotive Technologies Corp to co-develop automotive inverters for hybrid vehicles.
The broader Topix gained 1.0 percent to 1,353.93 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 1.0 percent to 12,180.70.