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Jobs, trade talk to spur

Asia Pacific markets are set for a day in the sun after better than expected US jobs data and encouraging comments on trade. Currencies and bonds are steady, shares look set to rise and oil prices are nudging five-month highs. A fairly clean slate of economic releases means the positive momentum may prevail through the session.

US non-farm payroll increased by 196,000 jobs in March and unemployment stayed at 3.8%. A fall in the annualised rate of wages growth from 3.4% to 3.2% took some gloss off the data, but markets generally received the news positively. Higher growth technology shares benefitted, but US investors favoured energy stocks and domestic exposures in utilities, real estate and healthcare.

The Xinhua news agency reported the conclusion of the ninth round of trade talks in Washington, and a decision by both the US and China to “…continue their consultations regarding the remaining issues..”. Markets seem comfortable with the shift to a longer timetable for agreement than previously priced.

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