Asian shares gain after reassurances from China on yuan

MANILA, Philippines - Asian shares were mostly higher Friday after U.S. stocks surged overnight following a recovery in energy companies and bank stocks.

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Investors also were reassured by pledges from China's central bank governor not to devalue the yuan for the sake of export competitiveness.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 1.3 per cent to 16,346.79 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index surged 1.7 per cent to 19,210.75. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 started in the red but later gained 0.2 per cent at 4,888.60. The Shanghai Composite Index inched up by 0.5 per cent to 2,753.82 after plunging 6.4 per cent Thursday. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.2 per cent at 1,923.14 and markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher, while shares in Taiwan fell.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "A rebound in oil prices boosted risk sentiments (tentatively), which lifted overnight markets to close strongly," said IG market strategist Bernard Aw. "Market participants in Asia however would be cautious as they seek clarity from how Chinese equities will perform today after yesterday's tumble."

CHINA CURRENCY: Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China's central bank, told a conference on the sidelines of a meeting of financial leaders of the Group of 20 industrial nations that Beijing would not engage in devaluations for the sake of its export competitiveness. Zhou urged that the gathering focus on managing lacklustre global demand, structural economic reforms and promoting "sustainable and balanced" growth.

WALL STREET GAINS: A late-day surge pushed U.S. stocks sharply higher Thursday, propelled by a recovery in energy companies and bank stocks, which have been hit hard this year. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 212.30 points, or 1.3 per cent, to close at 16,697.29. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 21.90 points, or 1.1 per cent, to close at 1,951.70 and the Nasdaq composite rose 39.60 points, or 0.9 per cent, to close at 4,582.20.

OIL: U.S. crude shed 2 cents at $33.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed up 92 cents or nearly 3 per cent to $33.07 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, fell 20 cents to $35.50 a barrel. On Thursday, it rose 63 cents to $35.29 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.85 yen from 112.30 in the previous day's trading. The euro climbed to $1.1062 from $1.1020.


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