Investing.com - Asian stock markets rebounded from the previous day’s sharp declines on Thursday, as appetite for riskier assets strengthened following the release of upbeat Chinese trade data.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng rose 0.3%, China’s Shanghai Composite advanced 0.43%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.75% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended up 0.93%.
Data released earlier showed that China’s trade surplus widened to $18.45 billion in April from a surplus of $7.7 billion in March, compared to estimates for a surplus of $13.9 billion.
Chinese exports climbed 0.9% from a year earlier, beating expectations for a 1.7% decline and following a 6.6% drop in March. Imports rose 0.8%, compared to forecasts for a 2.3% decline and after plunging 11.3% in the previous month.
Shares in mainland China and Hong Kong extended gains after the robust data, which helped ease concerns over the health of the world’s second largest economy.
China Construction Bank (HK:0939) saw shares rise 1.7%, ICBC (HK:1398) advanced 1.1%, while Agricultural Bank Of China (HK:1288) tacked on 1%.
Index heavyweight HSBC Holdings (HK:0005) saw shares drop 0.3% after the lender posted disappointing first quarter earnings on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index bounced off a three-week low struck in the previous session after data showed that the economy added 14,200 jobs in April, easily surpassing expectations for an increase of 6,800.
The jobless rate held steady at 5.8% last month, compared to forecasts for an increase to 5.9%.
Miners were broadly higher following the release of stronger than expected Chinese trade data. BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) rose 1.3% and 1.4%, while Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) and Atlas Iron (ASX:AGO) picked up 4.1% and 1.8%.
National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) rallied 0.9% after reporting a 16% increase in six-month net profit.
Elsewhere, in Tokyo, the Nikkei rebounded from a three-week low as traders continued to monitor movements in the currency market. USD/JPY hit a daily high of 101.94, moving off the previous session’s low of 101.42.
Mitsubishi (TOKYO:8058) surged 6.6% after the company posted better than expected earnings and said it will buy back stock.
On the downside, index heavyweight Softbank (TOKYO:9984) lost 1.7% despite reporting a forecast-beating profit late Wednesday.
Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a higher open as investors looked ahead to the outcome of the European Central Bank’s policy meeting later in the trading day.
The Euro Stoxx 50 futures pointed to a gain of 0.4%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.3%, London’s FTSE 100 indicated a rise of 0.2%, while Germany''s DAX picked up 0.4%.
Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets also pointed to a firm open. The Dow pointed to a rise of 0.1%, S&P 500 inched up 0.05%, while the Nasdaq 100 indicated an increase of 0.1%.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that a high degree of monetary accommodation remains warranted given the slack in the economy.
Ms. Yellen also said the Fed expects economic growth to accelerate this year despite the slowdown in the first quarter but warned that the recent housing market slowdown "could prove more protracted than currently expected."
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