Asian Shares Track Wall Street Rebound, As Italy Fears Fade

(AP) -
People walk past an electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index outside a local bank in Hong Kong, Thursday, as jitters over Italy’s political turmoil subsided. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Asian shares rose Thursday after U.S. stocks recovered most of their sharp losses from a day earlier as jitters over Italy’s political situation subsided.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.8 percent to 22,201.82 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.1 percent to 30,385.50. The Shanghai Composite index rebounded 1.8 percent to 3,095.47 and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 climbed 0.5 percent to 6,011.90. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.6 percent to 2,423.01. Shares rose in Taiwan and were mostly higher in Southeast Asia.

Banks and energy companies surged Wednesday as investors reversed course on hopes that Italy will be able to avoid a new round of elections. Stocks had plunged the previous day as investors expected the Italian gridlock would be resolved with new elections that could have turned into a yes-or-no referendum deciding whether Italy would continue to use the euro. The S&P 500 index jumped 1.3 percent to 2,724.01 and the Dow Jones industrial average also climbed 1.3 percent to 24,667.78. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.9 percent to 7,462.45. The Russell 2000 index surged 1.5 percent, closing at a record high of 1,647.99. Italy’s FTSE MIB stock index climbed 2.1 percent after a 2.7 percent drop a day earlier. Prices for Italian government bonds also rose, sending yields down following a huge surge the day before.

The euro rose to $1.1689 from $1.1664. The dollar fell to 108.66 yen from 108.89 yen.

U.S. crude oil slipped 25 cents to $67.96 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped 2.2 percent on Wednesday to $68.21 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 43 cents to $77.29 per barrel. It added 2.8 percent to $77.50 a barrel in London. Oil prices fell 7.6 percent in five days following reports OPEC countries and Russia might start producing more oil soon.