Asian markets rise on the back of an overnight bounce on Wall Street

Big 5

Asian markets were broadly higher on Wednesday afternoon following a strong bounce on Wall Street overnight.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 advanced by 1.18 percent in afternoon trade, while the Topix index gained 1.45 percent, with most sectors still trending up.

Shares of Softbank shed some earlier gains but traded up by around 1.9 percent in the afternoon after the company’s Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure said earlier that it was “anxiously looking” at developments related to the disappearance of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Softbank has close ties to the Saudi administration, with a significant proportion of its investment capital stemming from the country.

In South Korea, the Kospi continued to trade higher by around 1 percent in the afternoon, with shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics seeing gains of 1.61 percent.

The ASX 200 traded up by 1.13 percent in the afternoon, with most sectors trending higher — the energy subindex was up by 0.75 percent, while the heavily weighted financials industry saw a gain of 1.39 percent.

The mainland Chinese markets, however, were mixed in the afternoon. The Shanghai composite was higher by 0.1 percent while the Shenzhen composite slipped by around 0.3 percent.

Stocks on Wall Street leap from strong quarterly earnings

Overnight on Wall Street, the major indexes saw saw their best day since March, with stocks rising on the back of strong quarterly results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped by 547.87 points to close at 25,798.42, while the S&P 500 rose by 2.1 percent to end the trading day stateside at 2,809.92. The Nasdaq Composite also jumped by 2.9 percent to close at 7,645.49.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, plunged by more than 17 percent to 17.62 on Tuesday, after hitting its highest level since February last week. The VIX measures implied volatility on S&P 500 index options.

“I think most analysts and investors are worried that the, the rally has lasted so long, so many years, and they’re looking for any little thing to tip the scale,” said Peter Andersen, CIO at Andersen Capital Management, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday.

“The earnings season will sober people up a bit more and see that there is much more growth to this economy” than thought by the majority, Andersen said.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump continued his criticism of the Federal Reserve, calling it his “biggest threat” as it was “raising rates too fast.” In an interview with Fox Business, Trump said, in reference to Fed Chair Jerome Powell: “I’m not happy with what he’s doing because it’s going too fast. Because — you look at the last inflation numbers, they’re very low.”

Trump had previously said the Fed has “gone crazy” and attributed last week’s plunge on Wall Street to the U.S. central bank.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.185 in the afternoon of Asian trade, after seeing lows below 94.8 yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Japanese yen was at 112.29 against the dollar after weakening from levels around 111.8 yesterday. The Australian dollar traded at $0.7132 after seeing a low below the 0.712 mark yesterday.

In the oil markets, prices shed most of their earlier gains but remained higher in the afternoon of Asian trade. The global benchmark Brent crude futures contract saw slight gains at $81.45 per barrel, while the U.S. crude futures contract advanced by 0.13 percent to $72.01 per barrel.

Source: CNBC