Chinese shares tumbled three percent today, adding to the massive 6% loss yesterday, as Beijing continues its volatile descend downwards on worries over the economy's growth, after locking in the weakest expansion in two decades last year at 6.9%, while doubts mount over the government's ability to control the slide and successfully transform the country from an investments-based model to a consumption-based one.
Most other Asian markets ignored the tumble in their big neighbor, with Japan's Nikkei actually surging nearly three percent, buoyed by big gains reaped by its American counterparts. Hong Kong' shares rose 0.70%, while South Korea's KOSPI advanced more than one percent. Australian shares were a notable exception, diving 1.20%.
Wall Street closed with big profits on strong earnings and as oil prices stabilized briefly, with Dow Jones ending up 282 points, or 1.78% at 16,167. NASDAQ added fifty points, or 1.09% to 4,567. S&P 500 jumped 26 points, or 1.41% to close back above 1,900.
Oil prices made strong gains yesterday after OPEC urged producers from outside the organization to collaborate with it to lower production volumes, but the recovery was largely fleeting, at least for U.S. crude, which gave up 30 cents, or one percent today to trade at $31.16 a barrel. Brent crude futures on the other hand made strong advances, rising 80 cents, or 2.50% to $32.55 a barrel.
Australia's Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% q/q in fourth quarter, beating expectations of 0.3% but less than third quarter's 0.5%. Australian dollar traders cheered the results however, with the Aussie gaining a robust 0.40% versus its American counterpart to 0.7035, on top of an even bigger gain yesterday of 0.72%.
Coming out today, the statement at the end of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, with analysts waiting to go through it for any signs of dovishness amid the markets turmoil in the last period, which would jack up stock valuations.
Also from the States, the official survey on crude inventories will be released from the Energy Information Administration, expected to show an increase of nearly 3.5 million barrels, added to the previous week's 4.0M addition, would would weigh on oil prices badly.