Asian markets rose Wednesday, with China leading advances after a strong finish on Wall Street overnight.
The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed at a three-week high, up 661.04 points, or 4.11 percent, at 16,746.55. The yen hovered at the 114 handle against the dollar, after falling overnight. The dollar/yen pair traded at 114.37 as of 4:37 p.m. HK/SIN time.
Other markets followed, with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 breaking the 5,000 level, to close up 98.97 points, or 2.01 percent, at 5,021.2, a one-month high. South Korea's Kospi gained 30.76 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,947.42, closing at its highest level since the start of 2016.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 596.03 points, or 3.07 percent, at 20,003.49 to a seven week high.
Chinese markets also rallied, shrugging off news that ratings agency Moody's changed the country's credit rating outlook to negative from stable. The Shanghai composite finished up 115.93 points, or 4.24 percent, at 2,849.10, while the smaller Shenzhen composite added 79.10 points, or 4.7 percent, to 1,760.58.
Major U.S. indexes rose on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 2.11 percent, S&P 500 adding 2.39 percent, and the Nasdaq composite gaining 2.89 percent. Many analysts agreed that the better-than-expected data from the U.S. overnight reduced some of the concerns, for now, over a sharp slowdown in U.S. growth.
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) set Wednesday's yuan mid-point rate at 6.5490 compared to Tuesday's fix at 6.5385. It was the lowest fix since Feb. 2. The dollar/yuan was flat at 6.5505 in the afternoon.
Singapore's DBS Bank said in a morning note that in contrast to January, March has started on a friendly note.
"Most markets - equities, bond yields, oil and commodities - have been recovering after stabilizing around mid-Feb, but are still well below the levels of the first Fed hike on 16 Dec," DBS said in the note.
Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG, wrote in his morning note the risk-on rally seen overnight in U.S. and Europe was mostly underpinned by the recent stability in oil prices above the $30 level over the past two weeks.