Asia, Europe Recover On Easing Hopes

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Asian indices closed the first day of the week on a positive note, with the lone exception of China’s Shanghai Composite. Among all, Japan’s Nikkei 225 recovered the most from its previous week’s losses as the yen headed strongly south. The reversal in Japan’s Nikkei came even after official reports indicated that Japan’s GDP weakened 0.4% during the quarter ending in December. The report may have fueled expectations that Japan’s central bank might take more easing measures. What those measures could be is hard to tell.

Japan Zooms Higher

The Nikkei closed 7.16% higher to close at 16,022.58. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also gained 3.27% to 18,918.14 while Taiwan’s TSEC 50 Index was flat, up 0.04% to 8.066.51. The Australia ASX surged 1.59% to 4,893.40. The only odd one out was China’s Shanghai SE Composite Index, which finished the day 0.63% lower at 2,746.20. It appears that China’s trade balance data weighed heavily against positive sentiment. According to data, China’s exports dipped 11.2% to $177.48 billion in January alongside an 18.8% drop in imports to $114.19 billion.

Europe Opens on High Note

Meanwhile, European markets followed suit after Asia and opened sharply higher. There isn’t much for the markets to take cues from as US markets will remain closed on account of Presidents Day, leaving catalysts to oil and Asia. On the data side, the Eurozone will report its trade balance while European Central Bank head Mario Draghi will address the European parliament today. Analysts are anticipating the ECB to indicate more monetary easing measures in March.

During the early hours, the UK’s FTSE 100 was seen trading 1.84% up at 5,812.51 while Euronext 100 bounced by 3.13% to 814.44. France’s and Germany’s index CAC 40 and DAX registered gains of 3.24% to 4,124.42 and 2.65% to 9,205 respectively. Switzerland’s Swiss Market Index shot up 2.35% to 7,836.15.

During the rest of the day, oil prices could leave an impact on European markets. During the late Asian hours, Brent Crude was trading 0.09% lower to $33.33 while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was hovering mostly flat, $0.03 higher at $29.47.

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