By MarketWatch and Associated Press
An incredible day on Wall Street, which saw major indexes finishing at least 5% higher, spurred Asian stock gains Thursday as some traders returned from a Christmas break.
U.S. markets were, however, indicating a pullback in the Thursday session.
Stock markets also got a boost from crude oil futures, which surged 8% Wednesday, coming off 17-month lows as a Russian official predicted oil prices would stabilize in 2019.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.34% rebounded 3.8%. It had tumbled more than 5% on Tuesday before recovering slightly a day later. The energy sector was among the day’s biggest winners, as Inpex /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 -1.25% , JXTG /zigman2/quotes/208590403/delayed JP:5020 -0.11% , Fuji Oil /zigman2/quotes/209041832/delayed JP:5017 -2.83% and Japan Petroleum Exploration /zigman2/quotes/201212147/delayed JP:1662 -3.37% rallied. Nintendo /zigman2/quotes/208063194/delayed JP:7974 -0.08% , Sony /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +1.18% and Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 -0.64% also posted solid gains.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.42% , which reopened after the Christmas holiday, gained initially but closed down 0.6%. Energy companies were again among the leaders, with CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 -1.61% , China Petroleum & Chemical /zigman2/quotes/202085942/delayed HK:386 -1.78% and PetroChina /zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed HK:857 -3.70% rising about 2% or more. Tech stocks gained as well, with Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 +1.76% and AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 +3.78% advancing.
On mainland China, the Shanghai Composite index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.34% was down 0.6% after a higher open, while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -0.15% also fell as government data showed industrial profits fell in November for the first time in almost three years.
South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.04% added 0.02% as Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +0.28% and SK Hynix /zigman2/quotes/206420319/delayed KR:000660 +2.28% gained. Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.0013% rallied 1.8%, with energy companies such as Woodside Petroleum /zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed AU:WPL -2.84% , Santos /zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed AU:STO -2.22% and Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT -3.83% advancing. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan and Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.52% rose around 2%.
On Wednesday, U.S. markets snapped a four-day losing streak and clocked their best day in more than 10 years. Investors were reassured by an official signal that President Donald Trump, who has heavily criticized the Fed on Twitter, will not try to oust Chairman Jerome Powell. The broad S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.11% soared 5% to 2,467.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.21% added over 1,000 points — its biggest point gain in a day — or 5% to 22,878.45. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.82% picked up 5.8% to 6,554.36.
“Wall Street’s strong rebound on Wednesday inspires gains across to Asia even as the market ponders about the sustainability of this change with the light volume that accompanied,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a market commentary.
According to Bloomberg News, the U.S. will send government delegation to hold trade talks with Chinese officials in Beijing in the week starting Jan. 7. It cited two people familiar with the matter. This follows a meeting between Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Argentina earlier this month. The two leaders agreed to hold off on additional tariffs for 90 days, to work on disagreements on trade and technology policies.
Benchmark U.S. crude declined in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the contract posted its biggest one-day gain in more than two years to settle at $46.22 a barrel in New York. Brent crude , used to price international oil, eased to $54.34 a barrel during Asian trading.
The rally was “a clear signal that the oil market tumult was rooted in the equity market volatility where investor sentiment has been weighted down by the unfortunate events in Washington, higher U.S. Interest rates, China economic slowdown and the omnipresent U.S.-China trade dispute,” wrote Stephen Innes, head of Asia Pacific trading at Oanda, in a research note.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.4412% eased to 111.04 yen from 111.37 yen late Wednesday.