Asia stock markets mixed after rebound

October 16, 2008 11:08:53 PM PDT
Asian stocks were modestly mixed Friday after Wall Street rebounded strongly overnight, with Japan's market recovering from its historic fall in the previous session.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 stock average advanced 187.67 points, or 2.22 percent, to 8,646.12. The index was still far from recouping Thursday's 11.4 percent loss -- its biggest one-day percentage drop since the stock market crash of October 1987.

Compared to the gyrations this past week, Asian markets seemed to stabilize. Singapore and China shares rose, while Hong Kong's benchmark was flat. Australia's key index fell about 1 percent, while South Korea's was off 2 percent.

On Thursday, Asian shares plunged as weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales data and a downbeat assessment from the U.S. Federal Reserve showed the world's largest economy, a major market for Asian exports, was heading into a recession.

"Within Asia, people are getting worried about a recession," said Daniel McCormack, a strategist for Macquarie Securities in Hong Kong. "Today people are trying to work out which sector, which stocks, which companies are going to get hit and starting to position themselves accordingly."

Overnight in New York, a late wave of buying lifted the Dow Jones industrials 4.7 percent, or 400 points, to 8,979.26 in a yet another volatile session that saw the benchmark swing more than 800 points.

The Dow remains up 528 points, or 6.3 percent, for the week.

Utilities, metal and communications issues led gains in Japan, with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. up nearly 7 percent and Tokyo Gas Co. rising 6.5 percent.

Oil prices rose. Light, sweet crude for November delivery was $3.11 higher a $72.96 a barrel in Asian trade. Oil prices are now half of their peak price near $150 a barrel in July.

In currencies, the dollar gained slightly to 101.57 yen Friday morning in Asia from 101.30 yen late Thursday. The euro stood at $1.3472 from $1.3492.

Markets in Europe fell Thursday, with Britain's FTSE 100 index falling 5.4 percent to 3,861.39, while Germany's DAX sank 4.9 percent.


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