Improved Risk Appetite Sees Asian Shares Rally

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Asian stocks rallied on Thursday as trade-war fears eased and investors turned their focus to the U.S. jobs report due Friday for clues to job growth and future moves by the Federal Reserve.

Japanese stocks saw relief rally as the yen weakened on improved risk appetite after the United States expressed willingness to negotiate a resolution to an escalating trade conflict with China.

The Nikkei average climbed 325.87 points or 1.53 percent to 21,645.42 while the broader Topix index closed 1.08 percent higher at 1,724.61.

Sumitomo Realty & Development, Yamaha, Eisai, DeNA, Nippon Electric Glass, Nissan Chemical Industries and Mitsui Fudosan rose 3-4 percent. Exporters Honda Motor, Sony and Canon gained 1-2 percent while banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group added around 2 percent each.

Australian shares ended near day's highs as trade-war fears eased and investors bet on improved corporate earnings. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 27.40 points or 0.48 percent to 5,788.80 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 24.30 points or 0.41 percent at 5,888.

The big four banks rose between 1 percent and 1.4 percent. Miners BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto and South32 dropped 1-3 percent in view of further losses in Chinese steel and iron ore markets on Wednesday.

Utility AGL Energy lost 1.8 percent after the federal government said the company has a duty to shareholders to consider selling the Liddell coal-fired power station.

Australia posted a merchandise trade balance of A$825 million in February, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today. That exceeded expectations for a surplus of A$725 million and was down from A$1.055 billion in January.

Seoul stocks posted strong gains after three days of losses. The benchmark Kospi rallied 29.46 points or 1.22 percent to finish at 2,437.52 as fears over a full-blown trade war between the United States and China abated.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics jumped 3.9 percent ahead of the release of its first-quarter earnings guidance while chipmaker SK Hynix added 3.1 percent.

Shipbuilders soared as the government unveiled its mid-term restructuring plan for the nation's shipbuilding and shipping sector. Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering both jumped around 7 percent.

New Zealand shares gave up early gains to end lower as Spark New Zealand shares fell over 2 percent to hit a near five-month low. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended down 34.09 points or 0.41 percent at 8,363.99, snapping two days of gains.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite was rising 1.1 percent. The country's foreign trade surplus increased in February from a year ago, as imports fell faster than exports, figures from the Department of Statistics showed.

India's Sensex was rallying 1.4 percent as investors awaited the outcome of the Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy meeting.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was rising half a percent while Singapore's Straits Times index was up as much as 2 percent. Markets in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong were closed for holidays.

U.S. stocks rebounded from early losses to end sharply higher overnight amid bets that a full-blown trade war between the world's two biggest economies can be averted despite the tit-for-tat tariff threats.

On the data front, reports on private sector job growth and services sector activity painted a mixed picture of the economy. The Dow rallied 1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 rose 1.2 percent.