Asian markets rise, buoyed by Turkey's rate hike

Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Most Asian stock markets rose Wednesday as jitters about emerging economies were soothed by the Turkish central bank's aggressive interest rate hike to stabilize its currency and China's infusion on funds into its banking system.

Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 2.1 percent to 15,294.54 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.1 percent to 22,191.20. China's Shanghai Composite was up 0.3 percent at 2,044.93.

South Korea's Kospi added 1.2 percent to 1,939.84. Indonesia's benchmark climbed 1.7 percent at 4,415.36.

Global stock markets are stabilizing after three turbulent days when investors grew worried about growth in China and other developing economies.

The sell-off began last Thursday, when a survey for January showed that Chinese manufacturing was set to contract, dragging down stocks in Asia, Europe and the U.S. The slide continued on Friday as currencies in countries including Argentina and Turkey slumped. On Monday, Asian markets dropped, although the selling on Wall Street eased.

By Tuesday, though, global markets regained some calm. In the U.S., earnings gains from big companies, including Pfizer, Comcast and D.R. Horton helped lift stock indexes. One area of disappointment, though, was Apple, whose weak revenue forecast pushed its stock to the biggest one-day loss in a year.

"The emerging market story was once again the main driver of price action through Asian trade with Turkey at the forefront of market activity," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia.

Turkey's central bank hiked overnight lending rate to 12 percent from 7.75 percent and overnight borrowing rate to 8 percent from 3.5 percent — a move more aggressive than what most analysts expected — to stabilize the Turkish lira and keep inflation under control.

"Asia managed to break its losing streak today," Shamu said.

Japan's Nikkei rose as the yen dropped against the U.S. dollar, while investors continue to watch for more central bank action ahead of the weekend, including in the U.S., South Africa and New Zealand, he said.

Jackson Wong, vice president of Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong said the Hong Kong market continued its rebound following Monday's huge sell off. The Chinese central bank's injection of more funds into the banking system boosted sentiment in China's banks, he said.

"We are seeing a strong recovery in this sector and its bringing up the whole market," Wong said.

The good performance of U.S. stocks also boosted sentiment in Asia.

"Since the 300 points drop last week, everyone feared about the U.S. market," Wong said. "And now we've seen two consecutive days of rebound so that's some pretty good news."

On Tuesday, U.S. stocks rose for the first time in four days.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 10.94 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,792.50. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 90.68 points, or 0.6 percent, to 15,928.56. The Nasdaq composite climbed 14.35 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,097.96.

Benchmark oil for March delivery was down 21 cents to $97.20 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.69 to settle at $97.41 a barrel on Tuesday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3652 from $1.3653 late Tuesday. The dollar rose to 103.27 yen from 103.19 yen.