In the currency markets, the euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.3018 and the dollar rose 0.3 percent at 96.30 yen, near three and a half year highs .Earlier, traders in Asia had their first chance to respond to last Friday's figures showing the U.S. unemployment rate down at 7.7 percent in February and 236,000 jobs created during the month. Japan's Nikkei 225 index marched higher for the eighth straight session as the yen slid to a near three and a half year low against the dollar, which got further support from the jobs data â¿¿ a lower yen potentially helps Japan's powerhouse exporters. The Nikkei rose 0.5 percent to close at 12,349.05. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed nearly unchanged at 23,090.82 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5 percent to 5,146.90. In the oil markets, the price of benchmark New York crude was down 57 cents at $91.38 a barrel.