Asian markets have been doing well lately, with more gains being recorded on Thursday morning. Nickkei 225, the Japanese benchmark index, led the stock parade, gaining 2.61% as of 9.20 am on Thursday. Kosip in Korea also recorded some good gains, going up by 1.3%.
Down Under, S&P/ASX was trading up 1.6%, with nearly all sectors, except gold, recording good gains. One of the sectors that showed great results was energy, which recorded 3.28% gains, followed by financials, which recorded 1.58% gains.
Stocks of resource producers and banks also traded up, with Australia’s big four: Westpac, NAB, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and ANZ traded up between 0.95% and 1.83%. Miners such as Fortescue, BHP Biliton and Rio Tinto were also among the winners, trading on 27.20%, 5.38%, and 2.64% respectively.
Japan’s exports in January slumped 12.9%, with the country’s finance minister releasing data indicating that their exports in that month fell 12.9% at an annual rate. This is contrary to the expectations of a drop of 11.3%. Import also fell, reaching 18% on-year, leading to a falling deficit in the trade balance. The country’s exports to China, which happens to be the biggest trade partner of Japan, fell 17.5% in the month of January.
Even with the disappointment in trade numbers, it is important to note that most stocks in Japan traded up, with top 5 trading houses: Marubeni, Itochu, Sumitomo, Mitsui, and Mitsubishi, trading 2.20% and 5.30% higher. The Japanese banks were also up between 0.45% and 1.30%, with Mitsubishi UFJ gaining 1.25%.
Unexpectedly, oil prices also rose sharply after crude inventories dropped. They were reported to fall by 3.3 million barrels in a week. Analysts had speculated that there would be an increase of about 3.9 million barrels. This drop came after the oil minister of Iran, Bijan Zanganeh, said that the move was one of the steps to stabilize oil prices.