March 3, 2021

Asian Markets Rebound After Turmoil

In Japan, second-quarter gross domestic product data showing that the economy there had contracted less severely than expected also helped lift sentiment.

The statistics, released by the Cabinet Office early Monday, showed that the Japanese economy, which was battered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March, had contracted 0.3 percent from the previous quarter, indicating that economic activity had rallied more quickly than expected after the disaster.

The Nikkei 225 index was 1.2 percent higher by early afternoon in Tokyo.

However, investors in Japan are likely to keep a wary eye on the yen, whose ascent against other currencies is weighing on exporters.

On Monday, one U.S. dollar bought about 76.8 yen.

Elsewhere in Asia, the benchmark index in Australia rose 2.2 percent, and Hong Kong and Taiwan managed gains of 2.2 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, by early afternoon.

In mainland China, the Shanghai composite index edged up 0.2 percent, and in Singapore, the Straits Times index climbed 0.6 percent.

The gains in Asia followed modest rises in the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard Poor’s 500 index on Friday. They closed 1.1 percent and 0.5 percent higher, respectively, after a dizzying, rollercoaster performance as investors struggled to assess the impact of the U.S. ratings downgrade.

The overall global markets, however, are expected to remain jittery, with much uncertainty about the debt crisis in Europe and the health of the U.S. economy.

Futures on the S. P. 500 were 0.5 percent higher by early afternoon in Asia.

“Decent data on Thursday and Friday last week brought a semblance of stability to markets,” analysts at DBS in Singapore wrote in a research note on Monday, referring to U.S. retail sales and jobless figures that were both relatively upbeat.

“Housing, inflation and industrial production will have the do the trick this week,” the DBS analysts commented. “It won’t be easy.”

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