Stocks across Asia continued their upward rally on Thursday, reaching their highest levels in over four months in a week that has been characterized by gains globally. An easing move by the Singaporean central bank appeared to be the major driver of appetite in Asian stocks as investors speculated that there would be more easing globally.
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Gains on Wall Street on Wednesday and hopes that OPEC members would agree to curtail crude production also seemed to have a hand in the rise of Asian stocks. Financial shares led the gains on Wall Street following better-than-expected earnings reported by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), the largest U.S. bank by assets, for its 1Q2016. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index all posted gains.
Asian stocks hit new highs
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 529.83 points to rise 3.23% over Wednesday’s closing mark to finish the day at 16,911.05. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 15.06 points to rise 0.5% and concluded the day at 3,081.70. South Korea’s KOSPI also posted a decent gain on Thursday, adding 34.61 point or 1.75% to hit 2,015.93 at closing.
Excitement in equities was also witnessed in Australia where the S&P/ASX 200 added 63.97 or 1.27% to 5,118.62.
The broader index that tracks Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan gained 0.5% to reach its highest level since November 26.
European shares ended Wednesday on a positive note with the Stoxx Europe 600 gaining 2.5%. But Thursday’s session opened lower. Nevertheless, positive sentiments stemming from expectations of more easing and a curb of crude production are expected to keep European shares at least near their highest levels in a month.
The U.S. dollar continued gaining against the Japanese yen, exchanging at 109.37. But analysts predict that further ascent of the dollar against yen will be limited.
In the commodities market, crude oil prices weakened with U.S. crude falling 1.55% to $41.10 per barrel and Brent crude futures declining 1.35% to $43.59.
In the precious metals market, the stronger dollar appeared to continue hitting gold.