Vehicles are displayed in a window while electronic boards display inventory information on the Australian Stock Exchange operated by ASX.

Lisa Maree | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Asia-Pacific markets battled for gains on Monday afternoon as investors reacted to last week’s US employment report, which beat expectations and raised hopes for a faster economic recovery.

Australian stocks ended the session in green but retraced most of their previous gains. The benchmark index ASX 200 rose 0.43% to 6,739.60 as most sectors traded higher, with the heavily weighted financials sub-index rising 0.5%. Major banking and mining stocks rose for the most part: Commonwealth Bank stocks rose 1.01% while Rio Tinto rose 2.91%, Fortescue rose 0.5% and BHP rose 2.38%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 reversed gains, closing 0.42% at 28,743.25 as bank stocks rose. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group shares rose 2.83%, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 2.14% and Nomura shares rose 3.17%. Elsewhere, the Topix index also gave up previous gains, falling 0.14% to 1,893.58.

Meanwhile, the South Korean Kospi fell 1% to 2,996.11. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 1.85% in the late afternoon while the Hang Seng Tech index fell 6.69%.

Mainland China stocks also fell: the Shanghai Composite fell 2.3% to 3,421.41 while the Shenzhen Component lost 3.81% to 13,863.81. Elsewhere, stocks in India and Singapore rose in afternoon trading.

Monday’s Asia Pacific session followed a wild day in U.S. markets last Friday as stocks rebounded from a sharp sell-off as a stronger-than-expected non-agricultural payroll report added optimism for a faster economic Recovery improved.

“Investors remain concerned about the impact of the massive Biden fiscal attempt on longer-term interest rates, creating a fragile equity environment,” analysts at ANZ Research said in a morning note on Monday. “This defense can prevail until mid-March (Federal Open Market Committee).”

US aid package

The U.S. Senate passed a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package over the weekend that includes direct payments of up to $ 1,400 to most Americans. The bill is expected to be passed in the Democratic House this week and will be sent to President Joe Biden for signature before the March 14th deadline for signing unemployment benefits.

Last month, Fed chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that the US economy is far from its employment and inflation targets and that it will likely take some time to make significant further progress. He said inflation is still “weak” and that the Fed is committed to current policies, implying that interest rates are likely to remain low for now.

Currencies and oil