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Asian markets swing between gains and losses

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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