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Asian markets swing between gains and losses

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Asian markets swing between gains and losses

Asian markets oscillated between gains and losses in late morning trade after monthly U.S. payrolls data showed the world’s largest economy continuing on a path of slow but steady recovery.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell less than 0.1% to 132 as of 11:17 a.m. Tokyo time, erasing gains of as much as 0.3% earlier. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 0.2%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.1%, while South Korea’s Kospi Index dropped 0.6%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.1%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index swung between gains and losses.

Investors were upbeat after US payrolls rose by 155,000 workers last month following a revised 161,000 advance in November, which was more than initially estimated.  The unemployment rate held at 7.8%, matching the lowest level since December 2008.

Financial stocks were supported by a decision from global regulators on Sunday to give banks four more years and greater flexibility to build up cash buffers.

Li & Fung Ltd., a supplier of toys and clothes to retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., rose 1.4% in Hong Kong.

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., Australia’s third-largest iron-ore producer, climbed 1.4% in Sydney as the price of the metal increased.

Samsung and LG Display, the world’s biggest makers of flat panels, slid at least 1.3% after they were fined by the Chinese government.

Japanese exporters were supported by a weaker yen, which was steady around 88.17 to the dollar, after the US currency rose as far as 88.40 yen, its highest in nearly two-and-a-half years, on Friday.

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