Markets surged Wednesday after a Lehman Brothers securities offering in the U.S. met strong demand, raising hopes in Asia that the worst of the credit crisis might be over. Japan closed over 4 percent higher, while Australia and South Korea both added 2 percent.
A $19 billion writedown by Swiss bank UBS reinforced the view that the banks were aggressively scrubbing their books clean of soured investments tied to the U.S. housing market. The change of mood boosted the U.S. dollar, which in turned pushed oil back down towards $100 a barrel. The greenback held on to its gains in early Asian trade.
Financials rallied across the region. Citibank's Tokyo listing finished up almost 14 percent. Australia's Macquarie Group, and South Korea's Kookmin Bank added 10 percent. Hong Kong listed HSBC Holdings and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China were trading sharply higher.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Average surged 4.2 percent to its highest close in a month as Mizuho Financial Group saw its greatest daily gain -- up 10 percent -- since January, with credit fears easing after the capital boost by Lehman Brothers. Exporters climbed, with Honda Motor gaining more than 7 percent as the dollar surged to above 102 yen.