Asian stocks were bolstered Wednesday by eased concerns about Spanish debt and solid gains on Wall Street, with technology, commodity and banking shares leading the charge.
The rally tracked gains for European and U.S. stocks Tuesday, as investors welcomed strong demand at a Spanish bond auction as well as a surprise increase in a German economic-sentiment indicator.
Michael Hsia, a hedge fund sales executive at Louis Capital Markets, said that while the optimism originated from reduced anxiety over Europe, it may not to last long.
“We’re going to keep getting periodic shocks from Europe because, unfortunately, Europe continues to be a big thorn in the overall level of confidence in the marketplace,” he said.
Better-than-expected earnings reports from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS -0.74% , Coca-Cola Co. KO +2.08% and Intel Corp. INTC +0.23% , and the International Monetary Fund’s raised global economic growth forecast also spurred regional stocks.
Leading Asian benchmarks on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average JP:100000018 +2.14% soared 2.1% to 9,667.26, with the yen’s pullback underpinning exporter stocks.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index CN:000001 +1.96% climbed 2% to 2,380.85, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HK:HSI +1.06% rose 1.1% to 20,780.73, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index AU:XJO +1.40% rallied 1.4% to 4,348.20, South Korea’s Kospi KR:0100 +0.97% added 1% to 2,004.53 and Taiwan’s Taiex XX:Y9999 +0.25% gained 0.3% to 7,605.
Elsewhere, the Philippine stock benchmark rose 0.4% to 5,179.84, setting a record closing high.
The region’s gains came even as a fund manager survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch report found investors are less optimistic about global growth.
“Investors have moved to a more neutral position after positive shifts in sentiment and risk taking in the first quarter. We believe investors will retain a sense of caution throughout the second quarter,” said Michael Hartnett, the firm’s chief global equity strategist.
Several financial and commodity sector stocks ranked among the day’s big gainers.
Banking major Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. JP:8306 +2.85% MTU +0.84% rallied 2.9% in Tokyo, Macquarie Group Ltd. AU:MQG +2.23% MQBKY +4.19% climbed 2.2% in Sydney, HSBC Holdings PLC HK:5 +1.86% HBC +2.23% UK:HSBA -0.58% rose 1.9% in Hong Kong and Samsung Securities Co. advanced 2.2% in Seoul.
Among resource stocks, steel maker JFE Holdings Inc. JP:5411 +2.99% JFEEF +1.61% jumped 3% and Pacific Metals Co. JP:5541 +4.99% PFMTF -2.70% spiked 5% in Tokyo, energy major Cnooc Ltd. HK:883 +3.34% CEO +1.49% rallied 3.3% in Hong Kong, while gold miner Zijn Mining Group Co. ZIJMF +1.23% HK:2899 +1.66% CN:601899 +3.08% climbed 1.7% in Hong Kong and 3.1% in Shanghai.
In Sydney, mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. AU:BHP +2.78% BHP +1.77% jumped 2.8% after reporting a 14% increase in third-quarter iron ore production compared to the same period a year ago.
“BHP’s quarterly production report is broadly in line with market expectations,” said Peter Esho, market analyst at City Index. “Both BHP and Rio Tinto have shown an ability to offset lower iron ore prices with rising production.” Read more on BHP Billiton production report.
Rio Tinto Ltd. AU:RIO +2.78% RIO +2.27% , which reported production data Tuesday, gained 2.9%.
Japanese exporters rallied as the yen weakened against the dollar and the euro. Nissan Motor Co. JP:7201 +4.23% NSANY +1.25% jumped 4.2%, while Honda Motor Co. JP:7267 +3.87% HMC -0.64% added 3.9%.
Technology shares climbed across the region after shares of Apple Inc. AAPL +5.10% soared overnight, helping send the Nasdaq Composite COMP +1.82% 1.8% higher.
In Tokyo, Canon Inc. JP:7751 +3.24% CAJFF -0.06% rose 3.2%, and Toshiba Corp. JP:6502 +2.70% TOSYY +1.54% gained 2.7%, while Samsung Electronics Co. SSNLF +25.39% jumped 3.5% in Seoul.
Property developers rose strongly on mainland Chinese bourses amid persistent hopes for policy support from Beijing, with Poly Real Estate Group Co. CN:600048 +4.73% jumping 4.7% in Shanghai, and China Vanke Co. CN:200002 +4.41% CVKEY 0.00% gaining 3.2% in Shenzhen.
But shares of many mainland developers traded in Hong Kong declined after data showed home prices fell in March in a majority of the cities surveyed by the National Bureau of Statistics.
China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. HK:688 -0.12% CAOVY +36.48% slipped 0.1%, while China Resources Land Ltd. CRBJY 0.00% HK:1109 -1.63% dropped 1.6%