Asian markets opened lower but recovered and swung back into green before the close of the week. Market participants appeared to be focused on key economic data to be released in China on Saturday. The market consensus projects that retail sales may edge higher for January and February combined. However, the data needs to be supported by a rise in industrial production and fixed-asset investment in China.
Asian Markets Finish Higher
Among major Asian indices, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added the most as it inched up by 212.97 points to 20,197.39. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.51% to 16,938.87 and Taiwan’s TSEC ended the day 0.52% up to 8,706.14. China’s Shanghai SE Composite Index finished the day 0.20% higher at 2,810.31 while Australia’s ASX gained 0.27% to 5,224.80.
Meanwhile, European markets opened sharply higher as the European Central Bank’s stimulus decision together with a surge in oil prices lifted sentiment across the continent. Britain’s FTSE 100 ticked up 1.56% to 6,130.98 while Euronext 100 gained 2.01% to 866.83. France’s CAC 40 added up as much as 2.21% and Germany’s DAX surged 2.03% to 9,690.60.
Oil Rebound Helps European Shares
Markets were quick to erase the earlier day’s losses as Brent crude started approaching its three-month highs again, brushing off concerns over oil oversupply. Moreover, there is a significant change in the outlook of the International Energy Agency (IEA), which indicated that oil prices may have bottomed out. Another economic update which might be driving up the markets is the contraction in the UK trade gap, which shrank to £3.5 billion from £3.7 billion in December.
In the United States, stock markets ended nearly unchanged from the previous day as investors tried to digest the European Central Bank’s policy decision alongside disruption in oil prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.03% down at 16,995.13 and S&P 500 Index managed to finish 0.02% higher at 1,989.57.