HONG KONG — Investor panic in Asia has subsided — for now.
Markets in the region, from China to Japan to South Korea, stabilized on Friday and regained a little ground despite another bruising trading session in the United States brought on by fears that the multiyear bull-market run on Wall Street may be running out of steam.
The Shanghai Composite Index bounced back from a four-year low to close up nearly 1 percent while the Nikkei surged late in the afternoon to end 0.5 percent higher. The Hang Seng Index and South Korea’s KOSPI advanced 2 and 1.5 percent, respectively.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index also staged a recovery after three days of losses and rose about 1 percent.
“Stability has returned to Asia, and the moves are a far cry from what [investors] saw yesterday,” Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone in Melbourne, said in a research note. “It seems Asia has had a reassessment, and calmer heads have prevailed as we close out the week.”
Investors on Friday bought back into Asian stocks after fleeing in droves earlier this week in the wake of a U.S. sell-off, particularly in the technology sector. Concerns about a weaker U.S. corporate earnings season has also weighed on shares, analysts say.
The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 5 percent in the last two days on the prospect that U.S. interest rates will gradually rise in response to strong economic growth and inflation numbers.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell said late last week that interest rates were “a long way” from a neutral levels, remarks that drew criticism from President Trump, who called the Fed actions “a mistake,” “crazy” and “loco.”
But there were already signs that U.S. shares, particularly tech firms on the Nasdaq, are stabilizing after trimming some of their rich valuations. And following their lead, China’s tech sector shot back on Friday as well.
Tencent, Asia’s most valuable company, regained nearly 8 percent after days of huge losses. The company said late Thursday it would delay a public listing for its spinoff music service given the turmoil.
Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker that once drew comparisons to Apple but has been on a months-long losing streak, bounced 3 percent on the Hong Kong exchange as well.
On Friday, China released trade figures showing robust exports, signaling health in its economic engine. But the country’s $34.13 billion trade surplus with the United States — the highest level ever — may exacerbate tensions with the Trump administration, which has been wary of China’s falling currency and demanding that Beijing close the trade gap.
Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, could meet at the Group of 20 summit next month in Argentina, according to reports, presenting a rare opening for dialogue at a time when high-level talks to resolve the trade dispute have all but broken down.
Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told CNBC that “there’s some movement” toward a summit meeting in Buenos Aires but added that the discussion topics have not yet been set, suggesting significant hurdles remain. The two governments have been eyeing each other warily after progress made in previous rounds of talks fell apart.
After several quarters of blowout earnings, companies have also been signaling weaker results, giving investors pause.
“We have two main head winds: the trade war with China and rising interest rates,” Mike O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading, told Reuters. “People fear that it will be harder to snap back if we’re seeing a cyclical top in earnings with those two head winds, which are not going away.”