Asian share markets rallied on Wednesday as a revival in risk appetite knocked back the yen and oil ran into only modest profit-taking after reaching a major chart milestone that augured well for further gains ahead.
Whether sentiment hangs together could depend on China trade data due later in the session. Forecasts favour some improvement in exports and imports in March after a dire February, which would likely underpin commodities.
Japan’s Nikkei led the bounce with a rise of 1.6 percent to reach its highest in eight sessions. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.5 percent and Australia gained 0.9 percent.
After a barnstorming performance on Tuesday, oil pulled back a little as concern over a larger-than-expected build in U.S. crude stocks offset reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia may have reached consensus on an oil output cap.
Brent crude was down 38 cents at $ 44.32 barrel, while U.S. crude eased 43 cents to $ 41.74.
Yet prices had hit four-month highs overnight and made a key technical breakthrough that could signal a further rally.
Analysts at Citi noted U.S. crude finished above its 200-day moving average since its long downtrend first started in 2014. “It suggests that the low is in and higher levels should continue to be seen in 2016,” wrote Citi.
A rally in energy stocks helped the Dow end Tuesday 0.94 percent firmer, while the S&P 500 gained 0.97 percent and the Nasdaq 0.8 percent. The S&P 500 energy sector jumped 2.8 percent.
All 10 S&P sectors closed higher and the Dow industrials posted their best day in about a month.
The lift in energy boosted the oil-sensitive Canadian dollar to near a nine-month peak while nudging the safe-haven yen back from its recent peaks.
Canada’s loonie stood at C$ 1.2769 per USD, not far from the overnight top of C$ 1.2750 – a level last seen in July.
The greenback was back above 108.50 yen, having climbed from a near 18-month trough around 107.63 set on Monday. The euro rose to 123.60 yen, putting further distance from a three-year low of 122.085 set last month.
Against the dollar, the euro eased to $ 1.1384 after turning around from a six-month peak of $ 1.1465. That helped the dollar index climb back above 94.000, from a near eight-month low of 93.627.
In commodity markets, copper and iron ore sat on large gains while gold held firm at $ 1,255.66 an ounce, having climbed to a three-week high of $ 1,262.60 on Tuesday.
© Thomson Reuters 2016
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