Asian shares mirror Dow comeback, dollar steady
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares saw a broad rebound on Wednesday, mirroring the bounce-back rally on Wall Street, though gains were in a modest range and most benchmarks gave up some gains after opening sharply higher.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index surged as soon as trading began as investors sought bargains, finishing morning trading up 3.1 percent at 22,270.56. South Korea’s Kospi, which saw only modest losses on Tuesday, fell back by midday, losing 0.7 percent to 2,435.05.
The Nikkei 225 tumbled as much as 7.1 percent on Tuesday before regaining some lost ground to close 4.7 percent lower.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 1.0 percent at 5,889.60. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.2 percent to 30,953.48, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.1 percent to 3,376.36.
U.S. stocks rallied Tuesday as a late surge helped them regain almost half their losses from the day before, when they had their biggest plunge in 6 ½ years amid heavy trading and huge swings for the market.
Major indexes in Asia and Europe sank Tuesday and U.S. markets started sharply lower, zigzagging between gains and losses. After its 1,175-point nosedive Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 567 points right after trading began but eventually gained 567 points, adding 2.3 percent to 24,912.77.
“While today would be crucial in seeing if the bulls can wrestle back control for Asian markets, it does appear that we have finally entered a period of increased volatility,” says Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
“This increased volatility had been one that the market was anticipating at the start of the year, but certainly took its time to arrive and may retain a spot in the market after this week’s tumultuous turn.”
Tuesday was the busiest day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange since Nov. 10, 2016, two days after the presidential election.
Throughout the turbulence, investors bought companies that do well when economic growth is strongest. Gainers included technology companies, retailers like Amazon and Home Depot, and industrial companies and banks.
Bond yields reversed after a sharp drop Monday. As a result, the biggest losses went to high-dividend companies such as utility and real estate companies whose stocks become less appealing than bonds to investors seeking income. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.80 percent from 2.71 percent.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, a broader market barometer tracked by many index funds, climbed 1.7 percent to 2,695.14. The Nasdaq composite rose 2.1 percent to 7,115.88.
The steep drops Friday and Monday wiped out the gains the Dow and S&P 500 had made since the beginning of the year. But the Dow is up 24 percent in the past 12 months the S&P 500 has gained 18 percent.
After Tuesday’s rebound the S&P 500 is still down 6.2 percent from the record high it set on January 26. That’s less than the 10 percent seen as a correction. Corrections are seen as entirely normal and even helpful in curbing excessive gains during bull markets. The last market correction ended almost two years ago.
Investors remain fearful that signs of rising inflation and higher interest rates could stifle the bull market that has pushed stocks to record high after record high in recent years.
Also Wednesday, U.S. crude oil added 60 cents to $63.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 76 cents, or 1.2 percent, to close at $63.39 a barrel in New York Tuesday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, rose 54 cents to $67.40 a barrel in London.
In currency trading, the dollar fell to 109.32 yen from 109.54 yen late Tuesday. The euro was trading at $1.2384.
On Monday, the Dow finished down 4.6 percent, the biggest decline in percentage terms since August 2011, when investors were fretting over Europe’s debt crisis and the debt ceiling impasse in Washington that prompted a U.S. credit rating downgrade.
AP Markets Writer Jay Marley contributed to this report.
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