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Stocks rally as investors scent fresh stimulus

Global equity markets rose yesterday, led by an 8 per cent surge in Japanese stocks, helping lift the dollar as the prospect of more economic stimulus out of Asia soothed investors rattled by recent market turmoil.

An early rally on Wall Street faded, leaving major US averages in negative territory in the afternoon. As the equity market declined, US debt prices rebounded after an auction of $21 billion in 10-year notes.

Oil prices gave up early gains, beset by ongoing concerns about oversupply.

The biggest equity move was in Japan, where signals from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Japan will cut corporate taxes pushed the Nikkei 225 stock index up 7.7 per cent, its biggest one-day rise since October 2008.

China’s Finance Ministry said it would strengthen fiscal policy, boost infrastructure spending and speed up tax reform, helping lift Chinese shares for a second day.

The Shanghai Composite closed 2.3 per cent higher and the CSI 300 index rose 1.96 per cent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 4.5 per cent. China’s shares rallied Tuesday on investor expectations that Beijing will add more stimulus to bolster slowing growth.

Angus Gluskie, managing director of White Funds Management in Sydney, described Wednesday's stock rally as a “speculative bounce.”

“The market will remain susceptible to a return of negativity until we see signs of some improvement in the original causes of weakness, which were predominantly Chinese growth concerns,” he said.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 98.81 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 16,393.87, the S&P 500 lost 10.82 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 1,958.59 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.72 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 4,798.21.

European shares followed Asia higher. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 1.4 per cent.

Investors' increased appetite for risk saw the dollar firm against the safe-haven yen and the euro. The single European currency was down 0.2 percent at $1.1176 while the yen was 0.9 percent weaker at 120.81 per dollar.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.1 per cent.

German 10-year bond yields rose 2 basis points to 0.70 per cent. Germany sold 3.2 billion euros of the paper at an average yield of 0.69 per cent, attracting bids worth less than the 4 billion on offer.

US 10-year Treasury yields were at 2.19 per cent, with a slight loss of 2/32 in price.

Benchmark Brent crude was down 3 per cent at $48.06 a barrel. US crude fell 2.8 per cent to $44.63 a barrel.

Copper hit a seven-week high above $5,400 a tonne and was lately traded at $5356.50 a tonne. Gold fell to $1,106 an ounce.

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