Asian shares rebound after sell-off, US earnings support

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Asian shares and commodities recovered on Wednesday as a sharp sell-off over the past two sessions lured bargain hunters, with sentiment bolstered by positive American corporate earnings and data supporting the case for ongoing US monetary stimulus.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 per cent after shedding as much as 1 per cent to come close to its 2013 low.

Australian shares were up 0.1 per cent and South Korean shares opened 0.7 per cent higher.

Japan's Nikkei average opened up 0.8 per cent, after tumbling as much as 2 per cent on Tuesday when the yen's rebound took a toll on sentiment.

"After seeing a pull-back, there is an opportunity for buying on the dips," Mr Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities, said of Japanese shares.

European shares fell on Tuesday on weak ZEW German consumer confidence numbers and heightened concerns about the earnings outlook for European companies. But US stocks gained over 1 per cent after strong earnings from some of America's biggest companies such as Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson .

US consumer prices fell in March for the first time in four months and factory output slipped, reinforcing the view that the Federal Reserve will maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy stance to support up economic growth.

"We still believe that the recent volatility in the commodity prices was mainly driven by long position liquidation, while the underlying backdrop remains risk-positive due to expanding global monetary easing," said Mr Vassili Serebriakov, strategist at BNP Paribas.

Spot gold was down 0.1 per cent at US$1,366.31 an ounce early on Wednesday, after sliding as much as 2.3 per cent to $1,321.35, the lowest level in more than two years. Spot silver was steady around US$23.36 an ounce after tumbling as much as 2.4 per cent to US$22.04 the previous session.

US crude futures inched up 0.2 per cent to US$88.92 a barrel, having hit a four-month low of US$86.06 on Tuesday. Brent crude futures fell below US$100 for the first time in nine months on Tuesday.

The broad sell-off this week was triggered by concerns about clouding global growth prospects after disappointing Chinese and US economic reports.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday trimmed projections for global economic growth for this year and next to take into account government spending cuts in the United States and the latest struggles of recession-stricken Europe.

The dollar was up 0.1 per cent to 97.62 yen after touching a low of 95.67 yen on Tuesday, while the euro eased 0.1 per cent to 128.61 yen but well above Tuesday's low of 125 yen.

"In contrast to prior growth scares, stocks in the sweet spot of monetary policy - high quality, high dividend yield, low volatility - are supporting the broader market," said Barclays Capital in a research. "The question remains if the market can hold up in the face of a soft global growth outlook."