Japanese stocks soar more than 3.5 percent, but China dragged lower by oil giant news

  • Shares in Asia mostly saw gains, as Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 3.88 percent on the day.
  • The mainland Chinese markets, however, were dragged down on the back of a report surrounding the suspension of top officials at state-owned oil firm Sinopec's trading arm.
  • Oil-related stocks Down Under and Japan also advanced on the back of Wednesday's rebound in oil prices.
  • Overnight on Wall Street, stocks surged as the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its largest single-day point gain in history.
  • The moves stateside come on the back of Wall Street's worst Christmas Eve ever on Monday. Stock markets in the U.S. were closed Tuesday.

Shares in much of Asia rose on Thursday afternoon following an overnight surge in stocks on Wall Street.

Japan's Nikkei 225, which has veered in and then out of bear market territory this week, surged 3.88 percent on the day to close at 20,077.62 while the Topix jumped 4.90 percent to finish its trading day at 1,501.63 as the two indexes climbed for the second-straight day after their Christmas Day tumble.

Shares of Japan Display surged 5.88 percent on the back of a report that the iPhone XR comprised 32 percent of Apple's iPhone sales in the U.S. in the 30 days after its release. Japan Display supplies the liquid crystal display panels used in the iPhone XR.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 1.88 percent to close at 5,597.2, with all sectors seeing gains.

Of note, the energy sector Down Under jumped 3.2 percent, with shares of oil-related companies advancing. Santos rose 2.67 percent, Woodside Petroleum gained 4.16 percent and Beach Energy climbed up by 1.14 percent.

Similar gains were seen in Japan, where Inpex advanced 4.28 percent, JXTG jumped 8.06 percent, Fuji Oil gained 5.04 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration soared 6.08 percent.

Those moves came on the back of a strong rebound in oil prices on Wednesday, which saw both U.S. and international benchmark Brent crude post their largest one-day increase since Nov. 30, 2016, when OPEC signed a landmark agreement to cut production.

However, both U.S. and Brent crude pared some of Wednesday's big gains in Thursday's afternoon Asian trading hours. The U.S. crude futures contract slipped 0.3 percent to $46.08 per barrel while the Brent crude futures contract also shed 0.18 percent to $54.37 per barrel.

South Korea's Kospi closed largely flat at 2,028.44.

Troubles in China over Sinopec

The mainland Chinese markets, which have been closely watched as a result of Beijing's trade war with Washington, bucked the overall positive trend to see losses on the day. The Shanghai composite fell around 0.61 percent to close at about 2,483.09 while the Shenzhen composite fell 1.216 percent to finish its trading day at approximately 1,264.23. The Shenzhen component also declined by 1.018 percent to close at about 7,215.34.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index also slipped about 0.4 percent, as of its final hour of trading.

The moves came after state-owned oil company China Petroleum & Chemical, also known as Sinopec, reportedly suspended two top officials at its trading arm after the company suffered losses.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Sinopec fell around 4.2 percent, as of its final hour of trading, while its Shanghai-listed counterpart plunged 6.75 percent on the day following the report.

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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Wall Street jumps

In market action stateside, stocks saw major gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its largest single-day point gain in history, jumping 1,086.25 points, or 4.98 percent, to close at 22,878.45. Wednesday's gain also marked the biggest upside move on a percentage basis for the Dow since March 23, 2009, when it rose 5.8 percentage points.

The S&P 500 also catapulted 4.96 percent — its best day since March 2009 — to finish the trading day at 2,467.70. The Nasdaq Composite also had its best day since March 23, 2009, soaring 5.84 percent to close at 6,554.36.

Wednesday marked the biggest post-Christmas rally for U.S. stocks ever.

Because U.S. exchanges were closed Tuesday for the holiday, the moves on Wall Street followed Monday's sharp sell-off, which sent the major indexes down more than 2 percent and ended with the S&P 500 falling into a bear market. The S&P 500 was down 20.06 percent from an intraday record high set on Sept. 21 before Wednesday's sharp rebound.

On Wednesday afternoon, futures pointed to a slight decline for the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq at the open on Thursday.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.862 after touching an earlier low of 96.770.

The Japanese yen, widely viewed as a safe-haven currency, traded at 111.01 after touching highs above 110 in the previous session. The Australian dollar was at $0.7045 after seeing lows around the $0.703 handle yesterday.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert and Reuters contributed to this report.