Asian Markets Edge Up, China Soars 7% Higher
Most Asian markets edged higher Wednesday, rebounding from a two-year low as Chinese shares surged on hopes for policies from Beijing to jumpstart growth, though many analysts say this is a long shot.
Chinese shares surged after investment bank JPMorgan Chase said in a report that China's leaders are carefully considering an economic stimulus package of at least 200 billion yuan ($29.13 billion) to 400 billion yuan and may ease monetary policy by the end of the year.
The U.S. dollar struggled as crude oil crept above $115 a barrel and gold prices edged higher, taking some of the steam out of the U.S. currency's recent surge to a seven-month high.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Average closed 0.1 percent lower, with Toyota Motor and other exporters sliding on the bleak global economic outlook, while bank shares fell on worries about the U.S. financial system.
Seoul shares closed flat after losing as much as 1 percent earlier, supported by gains in steelmakers and chemical issues, but deepening outlook worries sent memory chipmakers such as Hynix Semiconductor lower.
Australian shares finished 1.3 percent higher, as resources firms advanced on higher commodity prices, though gains were capped by broader worries about company debt levels and earnings outlooks. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both gained over 4 percent.
China's Shanghai Composite Index charged 7.6 percent higher on stimulus package hopes. Stocks surged almost across the board but brokerages led the gains because of hopes that a stock market recovery would boost their commission and underwriting income. CITIC Securities, the biggest listed brokerage, soared its 10 percent daily limit.
Hong Kong shares recovered from early losses with the Hang Seng gaining 2.2 percent amid hopes of a stimulus package to aid fragile mainland stock markets, bucking weak sentiment in the region. Chinese finance and insurance stocks advanced, with China Life, China Construction Bank and ICBC all advancing.
Singapore's Straits Times Index closed 0.8 percent higher, led by ship building and repair firm Cosco, whichjumped 8.5 percent, rebounding on bargain-hunting after the stock lost as much as 27 percent since the shock departure of its president on August 6.