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Asian shares follow US higher; Shanghai retakes 3,000 mark

An investor watches the stock market at a stock exchange hall in Shanghai, China.
ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
An investor watches the stock market at a stock exchange hall in Shanghai, China.

China's Shanghai Composite index closed up 5.4 percent to reclaim the critical 3,000 mark, tracking the upbeat sentiment across the region underpinned by Wall Street's biggest one-day gain since 2011 overnight.

According to Reuters, the Shanghai bourse posted its biggest one-day percentage gain in nearly two months.

After six consecutive days of declines, the Nasdaq Composite led gains with a rise of 4.24 percent on Wednesday while the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 climbed 3.95 and 3.90 percent respectively. The S&P 500 emerged out of correction territory on Wednesday, after sinking into correction during Monday's selloff.

"One reason was that [New York Federal Reserve President] William Dudley, an influential voice on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), said in a speech that a rate hike in September seems 'less compelling' in light of market volatility and foreign developments," analysts at Mizuho Bank wrote in a note.

"Secondly, U.S. durable goods and non-defense ex-aircraft capital goods both outperformed expectations, suggesting that investment momentum has picked up," they added.

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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Mainland shares rise

China's turbulent stock markets closed up for the first time in five trading sessions, with the benchmark index swinging sharply higher in the final 30 minutes of trading to settle at 3,085.4.

Among China's other indexes, the blue-chip CSI300 index and the smaller Shenzhen Composite closed up 6 and 3.3 percent, respectively.

"Technically, the stock market should have reached the bottom... Now that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) has cut interest rates and reserve requirement ratio (RRR), people will think that there's some kind of support from the government and since people have accumulated a lot of cash, they start to bottom fish," Arthur Kwong, head of Asia Pacific equities at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, told CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box."

Meanwhile, Willie Chan from Maybank Kim Eng attributed the day's gains to investors pinning their bets on a delayed interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

"Today's market moves are mainly due to markets expecting the Fed to delay [its] interest rate hike. Before this, people were expecting next month but now people think it's going to be December. Judging by how the dollar moved over the past 2-3 days, I think markets are expecting that already," said the Singapore-based regional strategist.

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Insurers were among the sectors which rose by the daily limit of 10 percent, while financials such as Bank of China and China Citic Bank closed up 6.3 and 10 percent, respectively.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world's largest bank by assets, reversed losses to advance 4.9 percent ahead of its results. Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of Communications, also due to announce earnings on Thursday, rose 5.3 and 7.8 percent, respectively.

PetroChina, which has the heaviest weighting of any Chinese company in the Shanghai index, pared losses to close up 2.3 percent, while Sinopec shares rose 3.9 percent despite posting a 22 percent fall in first-half profit.

Nikkei rises 1.1%

Equity markets in Japan were on a tear, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 posting a broad-based rally and the Topix index surging 1.5 percent.

Banks were in demand; Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mizuho Financial closed up more than 2 percent each.

Export-oriented stocks also attracted hefty buy orders. Toyota Motor closed up 1.5 percent on the back of news that it has reopened its Tianjin operations ahead of schedule, while Sony and Canon elevated 3 and 0.9 percent respectively. Consumer staples such as Kikkoman also benefited from renewed weakness in the yen, up 5.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda reaffirmed his belief in the central bank's 2 percent inflation target, reiterating that the goal can be achieved next year despite the continued drop in global oil prices. The Japanese central bank expects inflation to hit 2 percent during the April-September first half of next fiscal year, but many analysts see the goal as a tall order.

ASX jumps 1.3%

Australia's S&P ASX 200 index headed north on the back of a pick-up in buying across a majority of sectors.

Australia and New Zealand Banking was the star performer in the banking space, up 1.8 percent. Westpac leaped 1.2 percent, while National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia bounced up 0.5 and 0.4 percent, respectively. Insurer QBE surged nearly 4 percent.

Stronger oil prices also lifted energy counters, with Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search rising 1.7 and 3.2 percent, respectively.

On the earnings front, shares of financial services group Perpetual and clothing retailer Billabong charged up 6.1 and 2.4 percent respectively, following upbeat corporate results.

Kospi gains 0.7%

South Korea's Kospi index settled at a one-week high, a day after posting its biggest single-day rise in two years.

Bargain hunters swooped in on specific stocks such as chipmaker SK Hynix, which bolstered 6.1 percent. Consumer discretionary names such as AmorePacific and LG Household & Healthcare advanced 5.3 and 6.1 percent respectively, while Lotte Shopping firmed up 5.4 percent.

Blue chips fell out of favor on Thursday, thereby limiting the bourse's advances. Market bellwether Hyundai Motor dropped 2 percent, while steelmaker Posco closed down 1.9 percent.

PSI up 2.2%

Philippine shares closed 2.24 percent higher, with the main index recovering from 16-month lows hit on Tuesday, after government data showed the economy grew 5.6 percent from a year ago in the second quarter, in line with expectations.

The country's central bank said it does not see the need for additional stimulus or immediate change to monetary policy.

"Second-quarter GDP came in above our expectations, with household consumption saving the day. Despite the easing in remittance growth, consumption rose suggesting that the domestic sources of income growth are broadening," a note from ANZ said.

However, ANZ analysts sounded a note of caution: "Yet the persistent failure of the government to speed up its spending is now putting a dampener on total investment growth. The wider contraction in net exports implies that the country has succumbed to the regional trade recession"