Asian stocks rise amid China holiday calm;, STI up 0.8%

Businessmen in front of a display showing Nikkei Stock Average in Tokyo on Sept 2, 2015.
Businessmen in front of a display showing Nikkei Stock Average in Tokyo on Sept 2, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks rose for the first time this week on Thursday (Sept 3) as a two-day holiday in China gave investors respite from the market that's been at the center of recent global volatility.

Japanese shares advanced from a one-week low, aided by weakness in the yen. Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures were little changed after US and European stocks rallied on Wednesday. The Aussie dollar weakened toward a six-year low after retail sales unexpectedly fell.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.5 per cent by 1:40 pm in Tokyo as Japan's Topix index jumped 1.6 per cent. South Korea's Kospi index pared an early advance, while Taiwan's benchmark gauge gained 0.8 per cent.

The Straits Times Index was up 0.81 per cent at 2,901.39 as of 1:30 pm.

"One modest positive today is the fact China is offline for its Victory Day commemorations," said Chris Weston, Melbourne- based chief markets strategist at IG Ltd. "So traders and investors will be focused on domestic data, valuations and trying to understand how to navigate these crazy markets."

With the spotlight off China until Monday, attention shifts back to the outlook for US interest rates, with monthly payrolls data due Friday.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index held gains Thursday before a European Central Bank policy meeting that may underscore the diverging outlook for borrowing costs.

Oil retreated after President Barack Obama secured congressional support for a deal with Iran that may add to a global glut.

Global equity volatility climbed to its highest level since 2011 earlier in the week, as signs China's economy may be headed for a hard landing fueled anxiety over the global outlook. While losses in the Shanghai Composite have been mitigated by regulators ahead of this week's holiday, the gauge's movements have held sway over sentiment toward equities around the world.