An incredible day on Wall Street, which saw major indexes finishing at least 5 percent higher, spurred early gains in Asia on Thursday as some traders returned from a Christmas break.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index rebounded 3.4 percent to 19,986.32. It tumbled more than 5 percent on Tuesday before recovering slightly a day later. South Korea's Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,034.19 and the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.7 percent at 2,514.45. Markets in Hong Kong and Australia, which reopened after Christmas, climbed too. The Hang Seng index was 0.7 percent higher at 25,819.22. Australia's S&P-ASX 200 rallied 1.5 percent to 5,575.60.
WALL STREET: On Wednesday, U.S. markets snapped a four-day losing streak and clocked their best day in more than 10 years. Investors were reassured by an official signal that President Donald Trump, who has heavily criticized the Fed on Twitter, will not try to oust Chairman Jerome Powell. The broad S&P 500 index soared 5 percent to 2,467.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added over 1,000 points - its biggest point gain in a day - or 5 percent to 22,878.45. The Nasdaq composite picked up 5.8 percent to 6,554.36. The Russel 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 5 percent to 1,329.81.
HOLIDAY SALES: Trading was buoyed by a data showing that growth of U.S. holiday sales was at six-year high. Retail sales gained 5.1 percent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 as compared to a year ago, Mastercard SpendingPulse reported. It tracked spending online and in stores across all payment types, including cash and cheque. All in all, shoppers spent more than $850 billion this year, it added.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Wall Street's strong rebound on Wednesday inspires gains across to Asia even as the market ponders about the sustainability of this change with the light volume that accompanied," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a market commentary.
U.S.-CHINA TALKS: According to Bloomberg, the U.S. will send government delegation to hold trade talks with Chinese officials in Beijing in the week starting Jan. 7. It cited two people familiar with the matter. This follows a meeting between Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Argentina earlier this month. The two leaders agreed to hold off on additional tariffs for 90 days, to work on disagreements on trade and technology policies.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 12 cents to $46.10 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the contract posted its biggest one-day gain in more than two years to settle at $46.22 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 13 cents to $54.34 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 111.04 yen from 111.37 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1382 from $1.1353.