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Japanese stocks partially rebound from Christmas Day rout

Key Points
  • Japan's Nikkei 225 ended the day higher by 0.89 percent, a partial rebound from its steep losses in the previous session.
  • The Japanese share average plummeted around 5 percent on Tuesday, putting the index well into bear market territory — more than 20 percent off its recent high.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday once again said the Federal Reserve was hiking interest rates too quickly, continuing his open criticism of the central bank.

Japanese stocks saw gains on Wednesday following a Christmas Day plunge of both the Nikkei 225 and Topix.

The Nikkei 225 gained 0.89 percent to close higher at 19,327.06, while the Topix index saw gains of 1.12 percent to finish its trading day at 1,431.47. Shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing, the company behind the Uniqlo chain of apparel stores, bucked the overall positive trend in Japan as they slipped 0.92 percent on the day.

The moves came after the share average plummeted around 5 percent on Tuesday, putting the index well into bear market territory as it was more than 20 percent off its high in October. The broader Topix index also ended more than 4.8 percent lower.

Over in South Korea, however, the Kospi slipped 1.31 percent to close at 2,028.01 as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics shed 1.16 percent.

The mainland Chinese markets, watched in relation to the trade spat between Beijing and Washington, slipped on the day. The Shanghai composite fell around 0.26 percent to close at about 2,498.29. The Shenzhen composite also slipped 0.42 percent to close at about 1,279.79, and the Shenzhen component slipped 0.584 percent to finish its trading day at around 7,289.55.

The Australian and Hong Kong stock markets were closed for a public holiday.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

Trump again takes aim at the Fed

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued his spate of open criticism of the Federal Reserve, saying the central bank was hiking interest rates too quickly.

"They're raising interest rates too fast because they think the economy is so good. But I think that they will get it pretty soon," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, referring to the Fed.

Still, the U.S. president suggested that investors should now be buying into the ongoing sell-off.

"I have great confidence in our companies. We have companies, the greatest in the world, and they're doing really well. They have record kinds of numbers. So I think it's a tremendous opportunity to buy," Trump said after speaking with U.S. troops deployed abroad via video conference.

Trump's comments came on the back of a recent steep decline in the U.S. stock markets amid concerns over weaker economic growth. The president himself has often attributed the fall to the Fed, tweeting on Monday that the central bank is "the only problem" with the U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and saw their worst Christmas Eve performance in history on Monday. The Dow plunged more than 650 points to fall below 22,000 while the S&P 500 dropped 2.7 percent and slipped into bear market territory. The Nasdaq Composite also fell 2.2 percent.

Futures on Wednesday afternoon pointed to a continued tumble for the three major indexes stateside.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.580 after seeing a high of 96.66 earlier.

The Japanese yen, widely viewed as a safe-haven currency, traded at 110.46 after touching an earlier high of 110.12.The Australian dollar was at $0.7050 after touching an earlier low of $0.7030.

— Reuters contributed to this report.