Hong Kong: Asian markets rallied Friday to wrap up a tumultuous week as investors took heart from Wall Street’s gains overnight and positive US labour market data.
Investors welcomed details of a tax rebate for US consumers, announced as part of President George W. Bush’s economic stimulus plan. “The markets are reacting to news that Bush and Congress have agreed to accelerate tax rebates for US consumers so they can go out and buy more exports from Asia,” said Francis Lun, a general manager at Fulbright Securities in Hong Kong.
European markets rose in early trading, and US index futures suggested Wall Street would follow. Dow futures were up 56 points, or 0.45%, to 12,421, while Nasdaq Composite futures were up 19.50 points, or 1.1%, to 1,856.5.
Markets across Asia turned in robust gains, with stocks in Tokyo and Hong Kong nearly erasing steep losses suffered earlier this week.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 average rose for a third day, surging 536.38 points, or 4.10%, to close at 13,629.16, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 6.7% to 25,122.37 points.
Markets in Australia, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines also put in healthy advances. China’s Shanghai benchmark index rose 1%.
Asian markets plunged Monday and Tuesday on worries about a slowdown in the US, a key export market and the world’s biggest economy. They rebounded after the US Federal Reserve slashed interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point on Tuesday.
For the week, Hong Kong’s market—which tumbled a combined 13.7% on Monday and Tuesday—dipped just 0.3%, while Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 1.7%. In early European trading Friday, the UK’s FTSE 100 added 0.3%, Germany’s DAX gained 1.6% to 6,931.18 and France’s CAC 40 climbed 1%.