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Asian shares mostly higher on US jobs data, stimulus

HONG KONG -- Asian stocks closed mostly higher on Monday as traders welcomed better than expected jobs data out of the United States while sentiment was still up after the Federal Reserve's huge stimulus plan.

Traders in Sydney sold off Qantas shares after the flag-carrier said it would keep its fleet of A380 superjumbos grounded because it found “slight anomalies” following two engine blowouts.

Tokyo gained 1.11 percent, or 106.93 points, to reach 9,732.92, with exporters benefiting from a slightly weaker yen. Shanghai ended 0.96 percent, or 30.02 points, higher at 3,159.51 and Seoul closed up 0.18 percent, or 3.45 points, at 1,942.41.

Hong Kong rose 0.35 percent, or 87.55 points, to end at 24,964.37.

Regional markets surged on Thursday and Friday after the U.S. central bank said it would pump US$600 billion into the world's biggest economy to kickstart a stuttering recovery.

Hopes for the United States were lifted further when the Labor Department reported 151,000 new jobs were created in October, although unemployment was unchanged at 9.6 percent for the third consecutive month.

The jobless rate matched expectations, while the number of new jobs was more than double the 60,000 forecast by most analysts.

There was cautious optimism among dealers looking ahead to a Group of 20 summit in South Korea at the end of the week.

“We are increasingly convinced that 2011 will be the year in which the economic expansion finally puts down deeper roots and blossoms into a full-blown job-creating recovery,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

“It will take time... but the key point here is that the conditions necessary for the economy to start performing are falling into place,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Sydney shares fell 0.46 percent, or 22.2 points, to close at 4,778.4, with Qantas hit after it said it would keep all its double-decker A380s grounded due to safety fears.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said tests had found leaking oil in three of the aircraft's Rolls-Royce engines. The airline carried out the tests after an A380 was forced to make an emergency landing in Singapore on Thursday when one of its four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines exploded just minutes into its flight.

On Friday, a Qantas Boeing 747 — which was carrying the stricken A380's captain — also had to turn back to Singapore after another model of Rolls-Royce engine failed in mid-air. The carrier's shares closed 2.10 percent off.

Gold ended at 1,390.00-1,391.00 U.S. dollars an ounce in Hong Kong, up from Friday's finish of 1,385.00-1,386.00 dollars.

In other markets:

— Singapore closed up 1.85 percent, or 60.09 points, at 3,300.40.

— Taipei ended 0.22 percent, or 18.76 points, down at 8,430.58.

— Jakarta rose 1.20 percent, or 43.96 points, to 3,699.26.

— Kuala Lumpur rose 0.53 percent, or 8.10 points, to 1,519.84.

— Manila closed 1.23 percent, or 53.49 points, lower at 4,295.62.

— Wellington ended flat, edging down 2.76 points to 3316.40.

— Bangkok rose 0.90 percent or 9.34 points to close at 1,049.79.

— Mumbai fell 0.73 percent, or 152.58 points, to 20,852.38.

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