Asian Stocks End Mixed, Nikkei Soars 7.7%
Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday, with Japan's Nikkei surging over 7 percent near the close of trade. South Korean shares though dropped into the red plunging as much as 7 percent, but paring back losses to close down 3 percent.
The U.S. dollar was down slightly on the day at 97.96 yen compared with around 98.50 late in New York. Still, the dollar has gained nearly 4 yen in three days as global equity markets rallied. The yen has received a powerful boost as Japanese investors close out of overseas trades and bring money back home. Oil futures rose on the back of the gains made by U.S. equities to trade above $65 a barrel in the Asian session.
Attractive valuations in almost every industry inspired the Nikkei's rally, taking place less than two weeks after Japan's Nikkei index posted its biggest single-day decline since the 1987 crash.
The Nikkei 225 Average climbed 7.7 percent in volatile trade, with exporters such as Honda Motor climbing after the yen weakened on expectations that the Bank of Japan will cut interest rateslater this week.
Seoul shares closed 3 percent lower on Wednesday, reversing earlier near 8-percent gains as banking issues including KB Financial Group plunged across the board on deepening sectoral worries. KB Financial Group ended 14.89 percent lower and Woori Finance Holdings sank the 15 percent daily limit.
Australian shares rose 1.3 percent, but gave up more than half their early gains as property stocks such as Westfield Group fell on concerns about more capital raisings in the sector. Mining stocks rebounded after sharp recent falls, helped by a recovery in metal prices, but overall market sentiment was cautious.
Hong Kong shares rose 0.8 percent, building on their biggest rally in more than a decade, as investors scooped up energy stocks like CNOOC after crude prices snapped a three-day losing streak. But index heavyweight HSBC Holdings slid 4.3 percent, pruning early sharp gains on the main index, as investors locked in profits on Tuesday's 20 percent surge in the stock.
Singapore's Straits Times Index pulled back gains to close 0.3 percent higher, led by banks and property stocks. Top lender DBS Group was up 3.9 percent.
China's Shanghai Composite Index closed 2.9 percent lower after spending the morning session in the black.