HONG KONG (AFP)- Asian markets closed mixed on Monday after lower-than-expected US jobs growth sounded a warning about the recovery of the world's biggest economy.
Investors failed to follow Wall Street, which closed last week on record highs despite the job figures indicating that growth remains sluggish.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index fell 1.44 percent or 208.12 points to close at 14,258.04, while the Topix index of all first-section shares lost 0.96 percent, or 11.43 points, to 1,184.74.
Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing declined 2.50 percent to 34,700 yen, despite reporting Friday that domestic same-store sales for July rose 5.5 percent from a year earlier.
Market watchers said the downside for Tokyo stocks appeared limited as expectations remained intact for an earnings recovery at Japanese companies, particularly after Toyota posted the surprisingly strong first-quarter results Friday.
"Many Japanese earnings results have been weaker than expected, but many posted significant profit increases nonetheless," Yutaka Shiraki, senior equity strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Hiromichi Tamura, chief strategist at Nomura Securities, added that "stocks may lack a clear direction, but there are no reasons for sharper falls".
"Because we've seen relatively weak results for the first quarter at the beginning of the season, market participants were a bit worried, but such concerns are ebbing after we saw Toyota's results," Tamura added.
The Seoul index dropped 0.37 percent or 7.16 points to 1,916.22, and Sydney fell 0.11 percent or 5.5 points to 5,111.3.
But Shanghai rose 1.04 percent or 21.06 points to 2,050.48, while Hong Kong gained 0.14 percent or 31.04 points to 22,222.01.
The release at the weekend of a slightly improved Chinese non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) failed to give Asian stocks a boost.
China's official non-manufacturing PMI for July came in at 54.1, up from 53.9 the previous month. A reading below 50 indicates contraction, while anything above signals growth.
Banking giant HSBC said Monday its PMI for the services industry in China stood at 51.3 in July, unchanged from June.
The dollar fetched 98.76 yen in afternoon Asian trade, almost flat from 98.89 yen in New York Friday, but sharply down from around 99.50 yen in Tokyo Friday.
Tags: asian shares mixed after disappointing US job data