May 2, 2008

Asian Markets rallies, boosted by Wall Street Gains

02 May 2008 | 15:06 Asian Markets rallies, boosted by Wall Street Gains

Asian markets registered strong gains, after a sharp recent drop in crude oil prices, accompanied by rally on Wall Street.

Japanese stocks jumped on a recent rebound in the U.S. dollar against global currencies, which has dragged down prices of commodities such as crude oil and gold. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Average rose 2.1% to 14,049.26 and the broader Topix index gained 2.3% to 1,377.39.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.9% to 26,241.02, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index jumped 2.8% to 14,631.15.

Stock markets in China were closed for a holiday. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 2.1% to 5,700.40 and South Korea's Kospi advanced 1.3% to 1,848.27, while New Zealand's NZX 50 index rose 0.9% to 3,661.34.

Elsewhere, Taiwan's weighted index gained 0.8% to 8,963.63 and Singapore's Straits Times index added 2.7% to 3,232.68.

On the data release side, Australian retail sales rose 0.5% to a seasonally adjusted A$20.18 billion in March from A$20.08 billion in February and rose from A$19.20 billion a year earlier.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite gained 1.7% to 2,342.76. India's Sensitive Index, or Sensex, soar up by 1.8% to 17,597.31 as trading resumed after a holiday. Meanwhile, India's inflation accelerated at 7.57% in the week to April 19 from the year-ago period, its fastest pace in more than three years. India's inflation rose 7.33% in the week to April 12.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar bought 104.61 yen, compared with 104.35 yen in New York late Thursday.

June crude-oil futures slipped 60 cents to $111.92 a barrel in electronic trading, after dropping 94 cents to settle at $112.52 a barrel Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. However it edge down further, with the June-dated light crude contract slipping 62 cents to $111.90 a barrel in electronic trading.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 189.87 points to end at 13,010, its first close above the 13,000-point level since January 3, as investors offered a delayed but warm reception to a likely pause in the Federal Reserve's recent string of rate cuts. The S&P 500 index rose 23.75 points to 1,409.34, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 67.91 points to 2,480.71.

European shares posted healthy gains across the board Friday as most markets reopened after a holiday, with Royal Bank of Scotland among the biggest gainers in the banking sector following a report of private equity interest in its insurance arm.

Among the major European indexes, The FTSE 100 index gained 1% at 6,145.60, the French CAC 40 index added 1% to 5,045.00 and the German DAX 30 index gained 1.1% to 7,021.70.

According to preliminary figures from the Federal Statistics Office, German retail sales in March were down 0.1 %in seasonally-adjusted and in real terms compared with February and decreased 6.3 % in real terms from March last year.

U.K. house prices posted their first drop on an annual basis in more than 12 years in April, as the mortgage lenders Halifax House Price Index fell 1.3% on the month and 0.9% on the year in April, the first year-on-year drop since February 1996. In March, prices dropped 2.5% on the month and were 1.1% higher on the year.

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