Most Asian markets rose Monday after a
late afternoon rally on Wall Street capped a volatile week for global
equities, though traders remained nervous about the Federal Reserve's plan to
hike interest rates as it battles surging inflation.
The Nasdaq led the strong finish for US equities thanks to a seven percent
bump for heavyweight Apple, which posted eye-watering fourth quarter profits
that lifted optimism about consumer spending and the economic recovery.
And the strong performance -- which was also helped by strong US economic
data -- filtered through to Asia, where trade was thinned by investors
winding down ahead of the three-day Lunar New Year break that starts Tuesday.
Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Wellington, Manila and Jakarta were all in
positive territory, though Sydney edged down. Shanghai, Seoul and Taipei were
closed for holidays.
The gains followed a period of upheaval across world markets as the Fed
readies to withdraw the vast financial support put in place at the start of
the pandemic, which has been a key driver of a near two-year equity rally.
And while further volatility is expected as the bank lifts borrowing costs,
commentators remain upbeat.
The recent selloff "marks a long overdue correction rather than the start
of a bear market", said analysts at BCA Research Inc.
They added: "Stocks often suffer a period of indigestion when bond yields
rise suddenly, but usually bounce back as long as yields do not move into
economically restrictive territory."
Still, observers continue to debate the Fed's likely moves as inflation
sits at a four-decade high, with some saying it could hike up to seven times
before 2023, with an initial 50 basis point move in March.
In an interview with the Financial Times published Saturday, Atlanta Fed
chief Raphael Bostic said he expected three hikes this year but warned "every
option is on the table for every meeting".
He stressed that he would be "comfortable" with the idea of making an
increase at each of the bank's seven meetings this year.
Oil prices climbed more than one percent on expectations that demand will
continue as economies re-open and people start travelling again, while
worries about a Russian invasion of Ukraine fed fears about possible supply
Analysts have said that if Russia sends troops into the country, crude
prices could top $100 for the first time since 2014.
- Key figures around 0230 GMT -
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 26,981.89 (break)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.7 percent at 23,712.23
Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a holiday
Dollar/yen: UP at 115.53 yen from 115.24 yen late Friday
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1159 from $1.1158
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3412 from $1.3389
Euro/pound: UP at 83.20 pence from 83.16 pence
West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.5 percent at $88.12 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.4 percent at $91.33 per barrel
New York - Dow: UP 1.7 percent at 34,725.47 (close)
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 1.2 percent at 7,466.07 (close)
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)