Stocks climb

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    TOKYO- Global stock prices rose to a 1 1/2-month high on Monday after data showed a surge in US employment while US bonds came under pressure on worries the Federal Reserve may bump up interest rates sooner than it has indicated.

    US S&P500 futures traded 0.5 percent higher, maintaining their gains made during a truncated session on Friday though tech-heavy Nasdaq futures NQc1 lagged behind, trading almost flat.

    In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.8 percent while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was almost flat, with China closed for Tomb-Sweeping day and Australia on Easter Monday.

    MSCI’s all-country world index was almost flat but stood near its highest level since late February and within sight of a record high set that month.

    The US labor department said on Friday that nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs last month, the biggest gain since last August.

    That was well above economists’ median forecast of 647,000 and was closer to markets’ whisper number of one million. Data for February was also revised higher to show 468,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 379,000.

    “There will be further improvements in April, as restaurants have started to reopen. People have expected economic normalization to take place sooner or later but its pace seems to be accelerating,” said Koichi Fujishiro, senior economist at Dai-ichi Life Research.

    While employment remains 8.4 million jobs below its peak in February 2020, an accelerating recovery raised hopes that all the jobs lost during the pandemic could be recouped by the end of next year.

    The prospects of a return to a full employment, in turn, is raising questions about whether the Fed can stick to its pledge that it will keep interest rates through 2023.