Asian stock markets rallied again on Thursday as another surge in oil prices and gains on Wall Street reinforced optimism about the world economy.
With a positive vibe flowing across trading floors, investors shifted out of safe-bet assets such as the yen, which helped Japan’s Nikkei record a third-straight gain.
However, Mitsubishi Motors bombed 20 percent, extending Wednesday’s 15 percent dive — and wiping billions off its value — on news it falsified fuel-efficiency tests on hundreds of thousands of vehicles.
New York investors provided a solid platform for their Asian counterparts, thanks to another jump in crude prices that came in response to data showing US production fell last week.
The two main contracts soared around four percent after the news — putting them both into the mid-$40 a barrel zone.
Prices edged up further Thursday putting the commodity around its highest levels this year, just days after the failure of much-anticipated talks between major producers aimed at limiting output.
Brent rose 0.4 percent to break the $46 mark for the first time since November, while West Texas Intermediate also added 0.4 percent.
Analysts said confidence has been buoyed in recent weeks by a string of healthy data out of China, the world’s number-two economy, and the Federal Reserve’s shift to put off any interest rate hikes until after June.
Optimism about China
“Recovering fundamentals and the fact that the Fed is going to hold rates for a while is certainly helping sentiment,” Kirk Hartman, Los Angeles-based chief investment officer of Wells Capital Management, told Bloomberg TV.
“People are becoming much more positive on China. People are realising that China isn’t going to have a hard landing.”
The Nikkei finished 2.7 percent higher as the yen eased against the dollar. While it dipped slightly on Thursday, the greenback is near the 110 yen level not seen since the start of the month, which has shored up Japan’s exporters.
In other markets, Hong Kong was up 1.8 percent , Sydney ended 1.1 percent higher and Seoul was 0.8 percent stronger. Singapore, Taipei, Wellington and Manila also rose.
In early European trade London added 0.2 percent, while Frankfurt’s and Paris each gained 0.3 percent.
However, Shanghai closed 0.7 percent lower, extending the previous day’s losses, with analysts suggesting the recent batch of upbeat data has fuelled fears that Chinese authorities will hold off unveiling any fresh stimulus for the time being.