Stock market today: Shares mixed in Asia ahead of updates on jobs, inflation

TOKYO — Asian shares traded mixed on Monday as investors awaited a slew of US economic data to be released later in the week.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.8% to 33,159.03 in morning trading. The Australian S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6% to 7,118.40. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3% to 2,513.03. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.6% to 16,736.45, while the Shanghai Composite fell less than 0.1% to 3,029.42.

China Evergrande's Hong Kong-traded shares rose 7% after a Hong Kong court postponed a hearing on its plan to restructure its massive debt until January 29. The company faces possible liquidation if creditors reject the restructuring plan.

Among the economic updates coming this week are labor market data, including the closely watched monthly U.S. government employment report for November.

“Traders are preparing for a slew of actionable U.S. economic data to be released this week that will be crucial in refining traders' expectations for Federal Reserve policy. The insights gained from this data could prove crucial,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

Inflation data is also expected this week for several countries in Asia, including Japan, Thailand and the Philippines.

Wall Street ended last week with a fifth straight gain, while the S&The P 500 reached its highest level in over a year, with a gain of 0.6%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.8% higher, while the Nasdaq composite was up 0.6%. Gainers outnumbered decliners by about 6 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The view that the US Federal Reserve has finally finished raising rates to curb inflation is a plus for markets. Data seems to indicate that inflation has declined since last year.

A U.S. government report on Friday showed construction spending continued to rise in October, exceeding economists' growth expectations.

Treasury yields have generally fallen as there is a sense that the Fed's aggressive rate hike policy is over and may be heading for a reversal. On Friday, the interest rate on the 10-year government bond, which influences mortgage rates, rose from 4.21% at the end of Friday to 4.25%. In October this was even 5.00%.

The yield on the two-year government bond fell to 4.55% from 4.70% at the end of Thursday. Falling bond yields have eased pressure on equities, especially technology stocks.

Investors entered December on track to end the year with solid gains. For the year the S&The P 500 is up 19.7% and the Nasdaq composite is up 36.7%. Shares of smaller companies have also been higher recently following the market's recent rally. The Russell 2000 index is now up 5.8% this year.

In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude lost 34 cents to $73.73 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Overall, oil prices have been falling for several months. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 44 cents to $78.44 a barrel.

In currency trading, the US dollar fell from 146.76 yen to 146.56 Japanese yen. The euro was at $1.0884, little changed from $1.0885.