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Asian shares surge; pound jumps as Theresa May secures Brexit concession

Key Points
  • Asian shares rose strongly across the board on Tuesday.
  • The pound jumped after British Prime Minister Theresa May managed to secure last-minute support from the EU for her Brexit deal before Tuesday's crucial vote.
  • U.S. stocks had rebounded on the back of strong tech gains, after a five-day losing streak on Wall Street. Better-than-expected January U.S. retail sales numbers on Monday also gave a boost to confidence, after a raft of weak December data.
Seung-il Ryu | NurPhoto | Getty images

Asian shares surged on Tuesday, following a raft of good news — U.S. stocks recovered overnight and the pound jumped as British Prime Minister Theresa May managed to secure last-minute support from the EU for her Brexit deal before it goes to a crucial vote on Tuesday.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan pared some gains to rise 0.9 percent in the afternoon. Oil stocks in Asia bounced strongly as crude prices continued to recover this week, lifted by comments from Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih who said that an end to OPEC-led supply cuts was unlikely before June.

U.S. crude rose 0.28 percent on Tuesday afternoon to settle at $56.96, while the international benchmark Brent was up 0.15 percent to $66.66 a barrel.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.79 percent to close at 21,503.69, after surging past 2 percent earlier. The broader Topix rose 1.52 percent to finish at 1,605.48.

The Shanghai composite jumped over 1 percent to close at 3,060.31, while the Shenzhen composite bounced 1.67 percent to finish at 1,695.80. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index traded up 1.44 percent during the final hours of the trading day.

Shares of China's Meituan Dianping, an online food delivery-to-ticketing firm, plunged more than 10 percent by the afternoon, following results posted a day earlier which showed that its fourth-quarter operating loss more than doubled.

South Korea's Kospi traded higher by 0.89 percent to close at 2,157.18.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose earlier but declined 0.09 percent to close at 6,174.80. Oil stocks put in a strong showing in the afternoon after losses on Monday, with shares of Santos surging 2.79 percent, Oil Search giving up some gains to rise 0.51 percent, and Woodside Petroleum rising 1.12 percent.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

U.S. stocks had rebounded on the back of strong tech gains, after a five-day losing streak on Wall Street. Better-than-expected January U.S. retail sales numbers on Monday also gave a boost to confidence, after a raft of weak December data.

"Markets will be looking for January's lift to be sustained, with strength in the labour market and rising real wages expected to support consumption," ANZ Research said in a morning note.

Monday's moves come after U.S. major indexes posted their worst weekly performances of 2019 amid growing concerns of a possible economic slowdown around the world.

The pound was up 0.5 percent, buying $1.3215 and taking its gains over two days to more than 1.5 percent, according to Reuters, following the news on the Brexit deal.

Senior minister David Lidington announced Monday that May had clinched "legally binding" changes to her Brexit deal in her bid to win last minute support.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of six major peers, traded at 97.068 as of 3:10 p.m. HK/SIN, climbing from levels below 97.000 in the previous week.

The Japanese yen fetched 111.30 to the dollar as of 3:10 p.m. HK/SIN, strengthening from levels around 111.70 last week. The Australian dollar traded at $0.7066.

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