BANGKOK (AP) — Japan's benchmark stock index surged Friday after the dollar hit a four-year high against the yen. Gains were modest elsewhere as traders digested a positive U.S. jobs report.
The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo jumped 2.8 percent to 14,581.95 after the dollar traded above 100 yen for the first time since April 2009. Traders have been selling the Japanese currency in reaction to moves by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stimulate the economy by pursuing super-loose monetary policy.
South Korea's Kospi fell 1.3 percent to 1,954.13 amid jitters over competition with Japan, whose weakened currency puts South Korean exporters at a disadvantage.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 5,214.70. Benchmarks in the Philippines and Singapore also rose while those in mainland China and Taiwan fell.
Unemployment claims dropped to a five-year low last week, the Labor department reported early Thursday. That signals fewer layoffs and possibly more hiring.
While the report failed to boost stocks, it did give the dollar a lift. The U.S. currency climbed against most major currencies and traded above 100 yen for the first time in more than four years. The Japanese currency has weakened dramatically this year due to the Bank of Japan's massive monetary stimulus.
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