Asia stocks swing higher, Google jumps

Women stand in front of a board showing market indices in Tokyo.
Women stand in front of a board showing market indices in Tokyo.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Asian stocks swung higher on Tuesday as a periodic revival in investor risk appetite led to a bounce in beaten-down commodities and a small step back for the US dollar.

Shares in Google jumped over 5 per cent, adding US$25 billion to its market value, after announcing a new holding company called Alphabet which will separate the core web advertising business from newer ventures.

The sudden mood swing in global markets saw MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rise 0.4 per cent.

Japan's Nikkei added 0.6 per cent and Australia's main index 0.5 per cent.

Some cited optimism that China, one of the world's biggest resource consumers, will take more action to stimulate its economy following another round of disappointing data.

Both the CSI300 index and the Shanghai Composite Index climbed over 4 per cent on Monday aided by talk of mergers in the state sector.

Investors were also hopeful Greece and its international lenders could seal a multi billion-euro bailout deal on Tuesday so it can get parliamentary and other approvals.

On Wall Street, the Dow had ended Monday with gains of 1.39 per cent, while the S&P 500 climbed 1.28 per cent and the Nasdaq 1.16 per cent.

A rally in oil gave the S&P 500 energy index its biggest daily percentage jump since January.

Also helping was news that Berkshire Hathaway had agreed to buy Precision Castparts for US$37.2 billion, reassuring investors the M&A boom was alive and well.

In currency markets, the major mover was the Canadian dollar which logged its biggest one-day gain since early June thanks to the bounce in oil prices.

The Canadian currency was up at C$1.3008 to the greenback, after rising 1 per cent on Monday.

The euro had nudged up to US$1.1019, away from last week's trough at US$1.0847 but well within ranges that have lasted more than five weeks now. The dollar was a touch firmer on the safe-haven yen at 124.60.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar flattened out at 97.171. That was off a nearly four-month high hit Friday after a solid July US jobs report narrowed the odds for a September rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

Fed vice chairman Stanley Fischer gave nothing away on Monday when he said the U.S. economy had nearly achieved full employment but also noted that inflation remained very low.

Brent crude was quoted 27 cents lower at US$50.13 a barrel, but that followed Monday's 3.7 per cent rise, the largest gain since late May. US crude was off 22 cents at US$44.74 a barrel.