Asian shares higher on modest rebound in Japan

February 4, 2014 • World News

Investor studies share prices during the morning trading at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. Weakness in U.S. and Chinese manufacturing sent Asian stock markets sharply lower Tuesday. (AP Photo/Daniel Chan)

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly higher Wednesday as wary investors took heart from the recovery overnight in European and U.S. markets, but there wasn’t much bounce to the rebound.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent to 14,061.20 by midday, after dropping 4.2 percent on Tuesday. It opened higher but surrendered some gains after the government reported that wage income remained at a record low in 2013.

[auth] Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.1 percent to 21,370.53 while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.4 percent to 1,893.82. Shares rose in New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia but weakened in Australia and Taiwan.

Investors remain cautious, watching for the reopening of mainland Chinese markets following the Lunar New Year holiday, and U.S. jobless data, due out Friday, said Kwong Man Bun, chief operating officer at KGI Securities in Hong Kong.

“Rebound momentum is not significant,” Kwong said. “Market sentiment remains cautious without a sustainable rebound, it’s just a technical rebound after the heavy sell-off, but funding interest is limited.”

Markets in Europe and the U.S. stabilized Tuesday despite the Nikkei 225’s dive to a four-month low.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent to close at 6,449.27 while Germany’s DAX fell 0.6 percent to 9,127.91. The CAC-40 in France edged up 0.2 percent to 4,117.45.

On Wall Street, stocks rebounded after their worst decline in seven months on Monday following the release of disappointing manufacturing data. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.5 percent to 15,454 while the broader S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent to 1,755.

Since many global indexes finished 2013 at record highs, some analysts say the recent market turmoil may be a long-overdue correction.

But worries over a reduction in monetary stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve and a slowing of growth in China have weighed on sentiment.

Investors, meanwhile, are also awaiting a policy meeting Thursday of the European Central Bank, which is under pressure to ease policy further to counter deflation.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was up 46 cents at $97.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 76 cents to close at $97.19 on Tuesday.

The euro was unchanged at $1.3518. The dollar fell to 101.30 yen from 101.57 yen late Tuesday.

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