Singapore shares open 1.41% higher, Asian markets up

Singapore shares open 1.41% higher, Asian markets up

Asia markets were higher in morning trade on Wednesday, taking early cues from overnight gains in Europe and US.

Singapore shares opened higher with the Straits Times Index up 37.95 points, or 1.41 per cent, at 2,720.34, The Straits Times reported.

The Japanese benchmark index, Nikkei 225, traded up 2.58 per cent, with the yen hovering at the 113 handle against the dollar, after falling overnight. The dollar/yen pair traded at 113.90 as of 8.49 a.m. HK/SIN time. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi, which was off Tuesday for a public holiday, traded up 1.45 per cent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.32 per cent in early trade, with the heavily-weighted financials sector up 2.18 per cent, while energy sector was up 2.89 per cent. But the gold sector slid 5.85 per cent, following an overnight retreat in gold prices. US gold futures for April delivery settled down 0.3 per cent at US$1,230.80 (S$1,725.48).

During Asian hours, spot gold traded near flat at $1,231.06 an ounce as of 0713 HK/SIN time. Gold miners Down Under were off by more than 3 per cent each in early trade, with Newcrest shedding 6.89 per cent.

"We have seen an immense risk-on rally over the past 24 hours of trade, and a lot of this does look to be underpinned by the stability that oil has found above the US$30 level over the past two weeks," said Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG, in his morning note.

"China announced cuts to the RRR this week and markets are looking to the upcoming European Central Bank and Bank of Japan meetings for signs of further global monetary stimulus," Nicholson added.

However, investors will closely be watching the Chinese market when it comes online at 9.30 a.m. HK/SIN time, after ratings agency Moody's changed its outlook on China's credit rating Wednesday morning. In a note, Moody's said it has changed the outlook to negative from stable on China's government credit ratings, "while affirming the Aa3 long-term senior unsecured debt, issuer ratings, and (P)Aa3 senior unsecured shelf rating."

Moody's said the key drivers of the outlook revision are the "ongoing and prospective weakening of fiscal metrics," "continuing fall in reserve buffers due to capital outflows," and "uncertainty about the authorities' capacity to implement reforms."

US crude futures closed up 65 cents, or 2 per cent, at US$34.40 (S$48.22) a barrel in overnight trade while global benchmark Brent settled up 24 cents, or 0.6 per cent, at US$36.81 a barrel.

Major US indexes also gained with the Dow Jones industrial average up 2.11 per cent, S&P 500 adding 2.39 per cent, and the Nasdaq composite gaining 2.89 per cent.

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