Calm after storm: Asian stocks rebound from trade war fears

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets rebounded Thursday from sharp losses triggered by escalating trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 surged 1.5 percent to 21,645.42 and South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.2 percent to 2,437.52. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.5 percent to 5,788.80. India’s Sensex added 33,473.85. Stocks in Singapore surged and markets in other Southeast Asian countries were also higher. Markets in mainland China and Hong Kong were closed for holidays.

TRADE TALK: After an initial jolt of fear brought on by China’s announcement of plans for tariff hikes in response to U.S. measures, investors are anticipating the two sides will work toward negotiations. President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, suggested the U.S. tariffs won’t be implemented if China lowers barriers to trade.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “With the expectation for talks to now take over, it does look like we have a long drawn out process ahead of us. The fact that markets have picked up so quickly also suggests that investors are becoming more desensitized to any threats that can be dismissed as negotiation tactics,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets finished higher on Wednesday after a sharp plunge in the previous session. The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 1 percent to 24,264.30. The S&P 500 index climbed 1.2 percent to 2,644.69. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.5 percent to 7,042.11. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 1.3 percent to 1,531.66.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 15 cents to $63.52 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dipped 14 cents to finish at $63.37 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 22 cents to $68.24 per barrel in London. It fell 10 cents to $68.02 a barrel on Wednesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.12 yen from 106.78 yen. The euro fell to $1.226 from $1.228.