Asian stocks gained today as investors anticipated further stimulus measures from Europe and China while US economic data reinforced recovery hopes in the world’s largest economy.
Japan’s Nikkei 225, the regional heavyweight index, inched out a 0.2 percent gain to end Tokyo’s morning trading session at 14,456.00. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.1 percent to 21,964.23 and South Korea’s Kospi rose 1 percent to 1,961.04. Australia’s S&P ASX/200 added 1 percent to 5,387.20.
Stocks in Southeast Asia also advanced. China’s Shanghai Composite was flat at 2,067.48.
Investors welcomed European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s speech on Tuesday in Paris that monetary policy should support the economies of countries that use the euro.
More investors are banking that China’s leaders will introduce pro-growth measures to prop up a slowing economy. A preliminary reading of China’s manufacturing, released Monday, showed activity at an 8- month low in March.
Reports showing strength in the US economy also underpinned investor sentiment. The Conference Board in the US said its measure of consumer confidence rose last month to its highest since January 2008. Another release showed US home prices edged down in January for a third month, but at a high level compared with a year earlier.
In Toronto, the S&P TSX Composite index rose almost 1 and a half percent, up 20.94 points to 14,299.49.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent to 1,865.62. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.6 percent to 16,367.88 while the Nasdaq composite edged up 0.2 percent to 4,234.27.
In energy markets, benchmark US oil for May delivery was up 17 cents at US $99.36 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 41 cents to settle at $99.19 on Tuesday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3815 from $1.3823 late Tuesday. The dollar gained to 102.30 yen from 102.26 yen.