ASIA MARKETS: Nikkei Up For 4th Straight Session, Leading Asian Market Recovery

By Kenan MachadoFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Stocks in Australia, China, Hong Kong rebound after 3 days of losses

Asian stocks posted broad early gains Thursday after wide weakness Wednesday as investors eased up on worries.

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Some so-called havens -- including sovereign debt, gold and the yen -- pulled back overnight. That sentiment carried over into Asia.

After hitting four-month lows last week, Japan stocks have benefited from bargain hunting this week, even as the yen and Treasury yields have remained around the strongest levels since the U.S. election. Price increases for the currency and U.S. bonds often hinder Japan stocks.

Japan's Nikkei rose 0.4%, setting the stage for its fourth straight gain. Japan's exports rose more than expected in March at 12%, helping the rise.

"The data from Japan certainly helped swing investor confidence," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

While Japan stocks have been solid this week, that wasn't the case in much of Asia-Pacific. Benchmarks in Australia , Hong Kong and China have fallen for at least three straight sessions, but indexes in all those locales rose early Thursday.

A pressure point the past week has been selling in Chinese equities, where a government clampdown on speculative trading has raised worries among investors in the notoriously volatile market.

The Shanghai Composite , down 3.2% during a four-day slide to notch the worst such stretch since December, rose 0.1% in generally quiet early action. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng gained 0.3% in Hong Kong, and Korea's Kospi advanced 0.4%.

Overall, trading volumes are expected to be on the lower side ahead of Sunday's first round of France's presidential election, an event investors have been watching for months.

With the election days away, "investors do not have much incentive to enter into the market," said Hannah Li, a Hong Kong-based stock strategist at UOB Kay Hian.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 19, 2017 22:51 ET (02:51 GMT)