Asian stocks jump on signs of hope for debt crisis

October 5, 2011 - 10:55 PM

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stocks rose strongly Thursday following gains on Wall Street, which was boosted by signs that European policymakers will act to support struggling banks and positive U.S. economic data.

The dollar strengthened against the euro but weakened against the Japanese yen while oil prices fell.

Japan's Nikkei index rose 1.9 percent to 8,544.68 while Korea's Kospi index jumped 3.5 percent to 1,725.11. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index surged 4 percent to 16,888.56. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and Australia also rose.

Markets in mainland China were closed for a holiday.

Global financial markets are recouping some of their losses after a disastrous start to the week prompted by investors' fears of procrastination and confusion among European leaders as they tried to get a handle on the continent's debt crisis.

Those fears were eased after reports indicating that policymakers were working to coordinate and bolster action. The International Monetary Fund may push for radical changes in the way the region's debt crisis is handled. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said she would support a Europe-wide plan to recapitalize banks if required.

In the U.S., a service sector survey indicated that growth might pickup, while another report found that private companies added slightly more jobs in September.

In New York on Wednesday, Wall Street held on to gains from the day before. The Dow Jones industrial average finished 0.8 percent higher at 10,899.35 and the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.2 percent to 1,137.83.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3322 from $1.3351 late Wednesday while the dollar fell to 76.74 Japanese yen from 76.96.

Benchmark crude fell 5 cents to $79.63 per barrel in New York, while Brent crude fell 25 cents to $102.48 in London.