Hong Kong, China (BBN)-Asian markets are mostly rising after US crude prices climbed for a fourth straight day, raising hopes the oil price crash may be nearing an end.
Brent crude gained nearly 6% in New York to settle at $57.91 per barrel, its highest level this year, reports BBC.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 and the broader Topix both rose more than 2% while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.7%.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1% due to a jump in energy shares and optimism from yesterday’s interest rate cut.
However, some analysts warned that the oil rally does not “spell an all-clear”.
“Oil prices have shown unusually sharp swings over the last few months, which are typical of markets trying to find a new equilibrium,” Chang Weiliang from Mizuho wrote in a report.
“For one, US shale producers remain a game-changer, with their flexibility to add or cut operating oil rigs likely to keep the longer-term volatility of oil under wraps.”
Investors will also be watching for major earnings from Japan this week, including Toyota Motors, Yahoo Japan and Mitsubishi.
In China, stocks also rose despite data showing the mainland’s services sector grew at its slowest pace in six months in January.
China’s purchasing managers’ index for the services sector slowed to 51.8 last month from 53.4 in December, according to a private survey by HSBC.
Any level above 50 reflects expansion while any figure below indicates a contraction.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.8% and the Shanghai Composite was up 0.3% at midday trade.
Taiwan’s stock exchange also announced it is widening the daily stock trading limit to 10% from 7% starting from 3 August.
The country’s Financial Supervisory Commission said the changes are aimed at attracting more investors and market liquidity.
The benchmark Taiex Index rose 0.7% on Wednesday.
BBN/AKG/AD-4Feb15-11:20 (BST)