Asia shares gain as crude oil bounce boosts risk as­sets

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Asian stocks rose across the board on Thurs­day as crude oil ex­tended gains on hopes that big pro­duc­ers will cap out­put, im­prov­ing in­vestor sen­ti­ment for riskier as­sets. Spread­bet­ters ex­pected a mixed open for Euro­pean shares, with Bri­tain's FTSE (.FTSE) seen dip­ping on some ner­vous­ness as Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron holds "now or never" talks to keep his coun­try in the Euro­pean Union.

Ger­many's DAX and France's CAC were fore­cast to open a touch higher. Crude oil re­mained the main mar­ket driver. U.S. crude was up 2.1 per­cent at $31.34 a bar­rel fol­low­ing a 7 per­cent jump on Wed­nes­day af­ter Iran voiced sup­port for a Rus­si­aSaudi-led move to freeze pro­duc­tion to deal with the mar­ket glut that had pushed prices to 12-year lows.

"While there has been some con­fu­sion as to whether 'sup­port' equals ac­tion, oil traders are sim­ply re­lieved that the world's fourth-largest holder of oil re­serves is will­ing to co­op­er­ate," wrote Kathy Lien, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of FX strat­egy at BK As­set Man­age­ment.

MSCI's broad­est in­dex of Asia-Pa­cific shares out­side Ja­pan rose 1.8 per­cent, pulling fur­ther away from a three-week low struck last week when a wide­spread chill in risk ap­petite amid con­cern about the euro zone bank­ing sec­tor de­pressed eq­ui­ties glob­ally.

Ja­pan's Nikkei (.N225) con­tin­ued its re­cov­ery from last week's 16-month low and gained 3.0 per­cent, shrug­ging off the big­gest drop in do­mes­tic ex­ports since 2009. Shang­hai stocks (.SSEC) rose 0.6 per­cent, in muted re­ac­tion to data show­ing China's Jan­uary con­sumer in­fla­tion quick­en­ing to 1.8 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year.

Aus­tralian shares (.AXJO) climbed 2.2 per­cent and South Korea's KOSPI (.KS11) added 1.1 per­cent. "Re­cov­er­ing oil prices have set the stage for an ac­cel­er­ated re­bound in global stocks, while min­utes from the FOMC sup­ported the mood," said Rhoo Yong-seok, a stock an­a­lyst at Hyundai Se­cu­ri­ties.

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