Asia close up but experts say the worst is not over

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Major Asian markets closed in positive territory on Tuesday, extending Monday's rally, but experts are not convinced this is the end of the volatility that has rocked stock markets since the beginning of 2016.

Thomas Poullaouec, managing director and head of strategy research for Asia Pacific at State Street Global Advisors, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that despite the relative calm seen in markets on Monday and Tuesday, the prospect of volatility remains.

"We don't think this is the end," he said, adding that markets would stabilize once there was stability in oil prices, global financial conditions and the Chinese economy.

"These three conditions are not there yet, so crisis is still the mode," he said.

Evan Lucas, market strategist at spreadbetter IG, said in his morning note that "macro overreach" was still a very real problem. But he added, "fear and pessimism factors versus slowing macro themes are two very different things, which explain the overreach."

Fear factors hanging over markets include China, oil and negative interest rates, according to Lucas.

Chinese markets, on their second day of trading after returning from a week-long Lunar New Year break, led Asian markets as the Shanghai composite closed up 91.21 points, or 3.32 percent, at 2,837.40. The Shenzhen composite ended 71.69 points, or 4.09 percent, higher to 1,821.70.

Though China's trade balance for January, released Monday, was weak, comments from the People's Bank of China (PBOC) governor sent the yuan to its strongest level against the dollar for the year, with the dollar-yuan pair at 6.4943 at yesterday's market close. The pair traded higher on Tuesday, up 0.21 percent at 6.5081.

Japan's Nikkei 225, which surged 7 percent yesterday, erased early morning losses to close up 31.85 points, or 0.2 percent, at 16,054.43. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi finished 26.10 points, or 1.40 percent, higher to 1,888.30.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 see-sawed between gains and losses in morning trade before closing up 66.54 points, or 1.37 percent, at 4,910, with the energy sector gaining 4.45 percent.

Oil surged 4% in Asian trade

Oil prices extended gains during Asian trading hours with the global benchmark Brent up 4.13 percent at $34.77 a barrel and U.S. crude futures were up by 4.42 percent at $30.74.

Overnight, Brent tacked on 2.07 percent gains while U.S. futures were up 1.09 percent on thin volume trade as it was a public holiday stateside and trading closed early.

The gains were made on the back of news that ministers from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela would hold a previously unpublicized meeting in Doha this week, which led to speculations of a possible global output deal.

But skepticism dominates among market watchers, after talk of possible production cuts from both OPEC and non-OPEC players over recent weeks have come to naught.

Some experts, however, believe that the extent of damage done by low oil prices will be difficult to unwind even if prices increase further.

Peter Esho, chief market analyst at Invast, told CNBC, "I think the extent of declines have been very, very significant and what's happening is Brent's been bouncing off a very depressed level."

He added that he couldn't see Brent break out of a downward trend even if there was another 10 to 15 percent appreciation. "It's still a downward trend," he said.

Energy plays across the region were mostly higher with Santos gaining 5.90 percent, Oil Search up by 5.77 percent, Inpex up by 2.24 percent, and S-Oil adding 4.31 percent.

Hong Kong-listed shares of CNOOC, Petrochina, and Sinopec were up between 2.51 and 6.42 percent while mainland shares of China Oilfield finished up by 2.66 percent.

Softbank shares surge 16%

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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Shares in Japanese telecommunication and internet giant Softbank surged 15.91 percent after the company announced a share buy-back amounting to as much as 500 billion yen ($4.4 billion) or 14.2 percent of its own shares.

Toshiba shares closed up 8.17 percent after reports said the electronics maker was not considering withdrawing from personal computer (PC) production and selling its Hangzhou factory in China. Earlier, the Sankei newspaper in Japan had said the company was planning to pull out of PCs as it restructured its business following a massive accounting scandal.

Major Japanese exporters such as Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and Sony finished mixed, from down 0.22 percent to up 1.49 percent. The dollar-yen pair, which fell as low as the 111-mark last week, was flat at 114.52 in the afternoon. A stronger yen is usually a negative for exporters because it decreases their overseas profits when the cash is converted to the local currency.

Down Under, resources stocks were up on the back of price gains in base metals including copper and iron ore. Iron ore futures in China, traded on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, were up 0.6 percent on Tuesday at midday, while the spot benchmark, compiled by the Steel Index, was up 5.6 percent at $45.60 a tonne on Monday.

Big miners including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton finished up 2.32 and 3.82 percent respectively, while iron ore producer Fortescue gained 9.97 percent.

Gold miners, however, took a hit, with Newcrest sliding 5.61 percent but Alacer Gold retraced losses of over 1 percent to finish 1.12 percent as spot gold slid 1.27 percent to $1,194 an ounce.

Overnight, U.S. markets were closed for the President's Day public holiday.

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