Asia-Pacific Markets Open Higher but Remain Spooked by U.S. Terror

Early gains in the Pacific Rim help to erase Wednesday's losses.
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Asia-Pacific markets started Thursday's trading day with tepid gains as the world adjusted after terrorist attacks in the United States. However small, the gains helped to erase the large losses many global markets took after the destruction in New York and Washington.

In New Zealand, the first country to ring Thursday's opening bell, the equity market gained 1.3% in early morning trading. Near the open, the Australian All Ordinaries Index gained 1.5% to 3097. On Wednesday, the Australian benchmark lost 7.4%.

Also just after the open, the Singapore Straits Time Index gained 0.4%, following Wednesday's 7.4% decline and the Korean Kospi gained 3.3% after a 12% loss on Wednesday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index gained nearly 1.5% to 9645 after a loss of 8.9% Wednesday. In early trading the index was trading at 9646, up 135 points.

In Japan, where trading was delayed 30 minutes for the second consecutive day, the Nikkei rallied early, largely on short-covering, only to lose over 100 points in the first 30 minutes of trading. However, it slowly stabilized and nearly two hours into the trading day was up 0.12% at 9622. On Wednesday, the Nikkei lost 6.6% in the aftermath of the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings.

Pharmaceuticals and energy stocks are leading advancing issues in Tokyo with automobile companies such as Toyota, financials and technology companies such as Sony

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sinking on fears of fallout from what is perceived to be a damaged U.S. economy. Trading limits, in place to limit volatility in Japanese markets, were tightened for the second straight day.

Trading in U.S. equities in Asian markets has been suspended for a second day as the U.S. markets were closed on Wednesday and U.S. equity markets will remain closed on Thursday. Richard Grasso, Chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange indicated markets could open as early as Friday but appeared to suggest trading is more likely to resume on Monday. On Wednesday, after early declines, European

markets closed higher.