Global Stock Markets Extend Rally
Traders remain upbeat after Donald Trump last week said he would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an unprecedented summit. (Photo:AFP/KCNA via KNS)
New York: Equity markets mostly rose Monday on optimism over solid US jobs data and the prospect of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, dealers said.

Asian stocks enjoyed gains across the board after Friday's US jobs report prompted a fresh record-breaking performance on Wall Street.

Most European indices climbed but London turned flat in subdued deals on the eve of the British government's budget update. 

"Buoyed by Friday's jobs report and a general easing of political tensions, markets are on the up again," said Chris Beauchamp, analyst at trading firm IG.

"Sentiment, which has been bearish for weeks now, has provided another tailwind for equities."

Trump decided last week that he will meet Kim Jong Un in an unprecedented summit to discuss the secretive rogue state's controversial nuclear programme.

The developments tempered worries about Trump's announcement of steel and aluminium tariffs that sparked a sell-off earlier this month on worries about a trade war.

"Equity markets in Europe are higher ... as the positive finish in Asia overnight has lifted sentiment," added analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.

"Stock markets are still shrugging off President Trump's tariffs for the time (being), but sentiment could change when they actually come into effect later this month.

"The US non-farm payrolls report had some positive aspects to it, but it was not impressive enough to make traders worry that the Federal Reserve would speed up its hiking cycle."

All three main indexes in New York rose almost two percent on Friday with the Nasdaq chalking up a fresh record, erasing all the losses suffered through a tumultuous February.

Those gains extended into Asia, with Tokyo ending 1.7 percent higher, while Hong Kong climbed 1.9 percent, Shanghai finished 0.6 percent higher and Seoul put on one percent.

'Best of both worlds' 

Investors were cheered by US Labor Department data that showed employers added a forecast-busting 313,000 jobs in February.

The closely-watched monthly report also revealed moderating wage growth compared with the January report, mitigating concerns the Federal Reserve will speed its pace of interest rate hikes.

Markets were sent spiralling down after the January jobs data, which showed wage growth surging and fanned concerns the Fed would likely have to ramp up its pace and number of rate hikes.

"The best of both worlds for equity markets, with the economy in full swing but nary a sign of wage inflation," said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA. 

"It doesn't get much better than that for investors and at least for now has dampened the inflationary fears that weighed on investor sentiment in February. When coupled with an easing in trade rhetoric and positive news from the Korean Peninsula, risk sentiment is powering higher."

Key figures around 1130 GMT 

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,227.87 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.7 percent at 12,428.3

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,289.18

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,434.57.

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.7 percent at 21,824.03 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.9 percent at 31,594.33 (close)

New York - Dow: UP 1.8 percent at 25,335.74 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2299 from $1.2307 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: FLAT at $1.3850 

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 106.57 yen from 106.82 yen

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 39 cents at $65.10 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 28 cents at $61.76