Jan 20, 2016 11:05 PM

Asia stocks snap losing streak as oil mired near 12-year low

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Asian stocks snapped a losing streak in global markets Thursday after Wall Street trimmed losses and oil paused after a steep fall, but analysts said sentiment was fragile and more losses could be in store.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.8 percent to 16,552.88 and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.7 percent to 1,858.33. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.4 percent to 18.971.97. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.1 percent to 4,894.10. China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.5 percent to 2,990.49. Markets in also rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

GLOBAL TURBULENCE: Stock markets have taken a beating along with the price of oil as investors believe stock prices have risen too high at a time when the near-term global economic outlook is for modest growth rather than a strong upswing. The IMF lowering its forecast for global growth this year to 3.4 percent, oil falling below $30 a barrel and China's growth slowing to a 25-year low last year have all contributed to the sell-off this week. The European Central Bank is expected to keep interest rates on hold at ultra-low levels when its governing council meets later in the day as it monitors risks from turmoil in global markets.

THE QUOTE: The S&P 500 clawing back from a 3.7 percent fall on Wednesday "should provide a morsel of sorely-needed confidence into the equity markets in Asia," Bernard Aw, a market strategist at IG in Singapore, said in a report. "But don't expect a miracle," he said. "It is not advisable to interpret any rallies as evidence that we have seen a near-term bottom. As disciples of technical analysts know very well, a downtrend is typically marked by periods of rebounds."

WALL STREET: On Wednesday, U.S. stocks closed down but off their lows. The Dow closed down 1.6 percent to 15,766.74. The S&P 500 index fell 1.2 percent to 1,859.33, its lowest closing level since April 2014. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.1 percent to 4,471.69, closing at its lowest since October 2014.

ENERGY: The price of oil rose slightly after suffering its worst daily drop since September. Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was up 25 cents to $28.60 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The February contract, which expired Wednesday, dived 6.7 percent, or $1.91, to close at $26.55 in New York, which was U.S. oil's lowest level since May 2003. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, added 29 cents to $28.17 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 117.25 yen from 117.19 yen in the previous trading session. The euro rose to $1.0885 from $1.0874.


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