Asian markets bounce back, though worries remain post-Cohn

Asia-Pacific stocks rebounded solidly Thursday, as markets in the U.S. and Europe stabilized overnight following weakness sparked by top White House economic adviser Gary Cohns resignation.

Stock prices have been swinging up and down this week as investors have tried to gauge what action will come from recent U.S. protectionist rhetoric.

Hong Kong stocks, which have seen some of the weeks biggest declines, saw the largest morning gain at nearly 1.5% for the Hang Seng
HSI, +1.63%
. Index heavyweights including Tencent
0700, +2.03%
saw rebounds of at least 2%.

Most regional benchmarks were at least 0.5% higher by midday Thursday, with Taiwan
Y9999, +0.73%
, New Zealand
NZ50GR, +0.90%
and Singapore
STI, +0.74%
up almost 1%.

The Nikkei Stock Average
NIK, +0.54%
finished morning trading with a 0.8% gain, aided by an overnight pullback in the yen following a haven rally triggered by Cohns resignation. Electronics stocks were strong, with Nintendo
7974, +4.06%
and Sharp
6753, +2.05%
respectively rising 3.3% and 2.2%.

Some market participants dont expect this latest stock rebound to be sustainable just yet.

There are still too many unanswered questions to think it safe to increase exposures to risk assets with any real conviction, said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Markets. He said uncertainties include Thursdays expected tariff announcement from President Donald Trump.

Also looming is Thursdays European Central Bank meeting, Fridays policy statement from the Bank of Japan and the end-of-week employment report out of the U.S.

There was upbeat economic news out of Asia-Pacific on Thursday, with Japanese growth revised strongly higher. Fourth-quarter expansion has now been put at 1.6% on an annualized basis, versus a preliminary estimate of 0.5%.

Meanwhile, Australia logged a much bigger than expected trade surplus for January. Paul Dales at Capital Economics called that welcome news, though he cautioned it may be too early to conclude that exports will add to the countrys economic growth this quarter. They cut into gross domestic product in the fourth quarter.

China said February exports surged 44.5% from a year earlier in dollar terms while imports rose 6.3%, resulting in a surprise surplus. But start-of-year Chinese economic data are volatile because of the shifting timing of the Lunar New Year holiday. It came in mid-February this year.

In commodities, oil futures rose 0.2% from Wednesdays U.S. settlement following the overnight 2% slide as U.S. output hit fresh record highs last week.

Bitcoins price
BTCUSD, -0.03%
fell back below $10,000 by midday in Asia, according to CoinDesk, after falling 10% in an hour during U.S. trading. The selling followed reports about a major bitcoin exchange in Hong Kong having problems executing orders.

Related Topics Asia Markets China Japan Australia Singapore Foreign Investment

Quote References HSI +491.38 +1.63% 0700 +8.80 +2.03% Y9999 +77.92 +0.73% NZ50GR +74.36 +0.90% STI +25.61 +0.74% NIK +115.35 +0.54% 7974 +1,870.00 +4.06% 6753 +70.00 +2.05% BTCUSD -2.61 -0.03% Show all references
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