Asian shares climbed Thursday morning as the Japanese yen paused, and after oil rose Wednesday, lifting U.S. stocks.
The Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent as the yen held at around 113 to the dollar following a big gain Wednesday. A strengthening yen — it was as weak as 121 to the dollar in January — makes the country’s export-oriented companies less competitive.
The ASX 200 in energy- and commodity-dependent Australia rose 1 percent as oil gained and the country’s exports increased 1 percent in January, after a 5 percent decline in December.
South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.3 percent, and Singapore’s STI rose 1.7 percent.
The U.S. and global oil benchmarks edged higher Wednesday, erasing earlier-day losses, despite a bigger-than-expected build in U.S. stockpiles last week. They’ve been above $30 a barrel for two weeks now, fueling optimism they bottomed out after hitting 12-year lows in mid-February. Some traders are betting that weeks of talks among OPEC members and Russia will lead to steps to boost oil prices. Oil’s decline from more than $100 a barrel in mid-2014 has hurt stocks of energy companies and the many industries that supply them around the world. It also has fueled concerns about global growth.
In the U.S. Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 0.2 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 by 0.4 percent and the Nasdaq composite by 0.3 percent.
“There’s been so much pessimism around energy,” Reuters reported Gary Bradshaw, portfolio manager of Hodges Capital Management in Dallas, as saying. “In spite of that, oil is near $35 [a barrel]. When crude moves up, it is telling the world, and particularly the U.S., is not going through a recession.”