Asian stocks rebounded from a six-session slump, driving the region to its best performance in five months as Chinese banks were lifted by hopes that Beijing will keep interest rates on hold.
The FTSE Asia-Pacific index jumped 2.1 per cent to 237.82 as markets were lifted by the US Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates at a record low levels until mid-2013. “Some poise might be returning to global financial markets,” said Crédit Agricole analysts.
The Shanghai Composite index climbed from a one-year low to gain 0.9 per cent to 2,549.18 as investors responded positively to Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s call for action to calm markets.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China added 1.2 per cent to Rmb4.15 while Bank of China advanced 0.3 per cent to Rmb2.95.
Property groups also outperformed on expectations that China’s tightening cycle could ease with China Vanke, the nation’s biggest developer by market value, climbing 1.7 per cent to Rmb8.44.
Elsewhere, commodity producers led a relief rally as oil and metal prices rebounded, pushing Australian shares to their biggest one-day gains in 15 months.
BHP Billiton, the world’s largest miner by market value, rose 3.6 per cent to A$38.40 while Woodside Petroleum jumped 4.4 per cent to A$36.33. The S&P/ASX 200 index in Sydney rose 2.6 per cent to 4,121.29.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Average gained 1.1 per cent to 9,038.74 but Sony remained under pressure, shedding 2.2 per cent to Y1,701 after the electronics group said a UK warehouse had been hit by the riots.
Tokyo Electric Power surged 15 per cent to Y449 after it reported a Y571.7bn net loss for its first quarter due to compensation for the nuclear leaks.
Investors snapped up the shares on the perception that a significant risk factor for the utility had passed.
In Seoul, the Kospi index rebounded 0.3 per cent to 1,806.24 after financial regulators announced a short-selling ban on all stocks, while Mumbai’s BSE Sensex rallied 1.6 per cent to 17,130.51, snapping a six-day decline.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped the most in nine months, climbing 2.3 per cent to 19,783.67.
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