By JOE McDONALD
AP Business Writer
BEIJING (AP) — China’s main stock index surged 5.3 percent Thursday, its biggest gain in eight weeks, as markets across Asia advanced in the wake of Wall Street’s rebound, giving investors some relief after gut-wrenching global losses.
The Shanghai Composite Index posted its first gain in six days to close at 3,083.59 points, bouncing back from losses that triggered worldwide selling and wiped nearly 23 percent off its value over the past week. It was the biggest one-day increase since June 30.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 2.9 percent to 21,697.31 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 1.1 percent to 18,574.44. Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 advanced 1.2 percent to 5,233.30 and Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.7 percent to 1,908.00. Markets in India, Singapore, Bangkok, New Zealand and Jakarta also rose.
European markets also advanced in early trading. France’s CAC-40 increased 2.1 percent to 4,597.36 and Germany’s DAX gained 2.4 percent to 10,240.92.
The gains came after Wall Street rocketed up Wednesday, when the Dow Jones industrial average soaring more than 600 points, or 4 percent. That was its third-biggest point gain of all time and its largest since Oct. 28, 2008.
Traders were encouraged by comments from William Dudley, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, that the case for a U.S. interest rate hike in September is “less compelling” given China’s troubles, falling oil prices and emerging markets weakness.
As Fed officials prepare for their annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, “people are looking for insight on what’s really going to happen on interest rates,” said trader Andrew Sullivan at Haitong Securities in Hong Kong.
Following a six-year run-up in U.S. stocks that has pushed major indexes to all-time highs, investors worry the economy could falter if the Fed raises rates too soon.
The rebound also is driven by bargain-hunting after prices were beaten down over the past few days, said Sullivan.
“You’ve seen everything just bounce back today,” he said. “The real question is now whether you get the fundamental players coming back in.”
It might be too early to expect a long-term Chinese rebound, cautioned Huang Cengdong of Sinolink Securities in Shanghai. Worries about China’s economic outlook have risen after July exports shrank by an unexpectedly wide margin and August manufacturing weakened.
“Considering the weakening economic outlook, the rally gains won’t last long,” said Huang.
U.S. markets looked set for more gains in Thursday trading, with futures for the Dow Jones and S&P both up 0.8 percent.
In currency markets, the dollar rose to 120.2220 yen from Wednesday’s 120.1440 yen. The euro edged down to $1.1327 from the previous session’s $1.1337.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained $1.18 to $39.78 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 71 cents on Wednesday to close at $38.60. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose $1.15 to $44.31 in London after losing 7 cents the previous day to close at $44.14.
AP Business Writer Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong contributed.