Asian stocks extended their recovery into the final trading day of the week as investors cheered a second day of gains in Chinese and U.S. markets.
China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite spiked 2 percent on Friday, building on a 5.4 percent gain in the previous session following news that the People’s Bank of China purchased blue chip stocks and requested state-owned banks to buy more yuan on its behalf late on Thursday.
More market intervention is likely, David Cui, head of China equity strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told CNBC. “There still aren’t enough genuine buyers in the market so the government is really the buyer of last resort. As soon as people sense the government’s resolve to hold up the market is weakening, investors will dump stocks.”
Sentiment also got a lift on news that Chinese pension funds will invest $313 billion in stocks and other assets as soon as possible, according to remarks by China’s Vice Minister of Human Resources and Social Security on Friday.
Meanwhile, Wall Street’s more than 2 percent gains on Thursday brought indices out of correction territory thanks to a strong revised estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product.
Higher oil prices also contributed to the positive mood in Asia. Brentand Nymex extended gains on Friday after posting their biggest daily rally in six years overnight, helped by the prospect of lower Nigerian crude exports.
To be sure, overall sentiment still remains fragile amid conflicting comments from Federal Reserve officials at a key meeting of central bankers at Jackson Hole. Kansas Fed President Esther George told CNBC on Thursday that interest rates should be normalized in September, one day after New York Fed chief William Dudley said a interest rake hike next month seemed less compelling.
China markets rally
Investors brushed off official data showing a 2.9 percent annual decline in China’s July industrial profits. The report was “less awful than expected,” explained Bill Adams, senior international economist at PNC Financial Services, in a note.
“China’s mining and steel industries are undergoing a deep correction; the rest of the industrial sector looks weak but not terrible. While risks are to the downside for growth, these data could be consistent with headline real GDP growth of 6.5 percent in the second half of 2015.”