Asian stocks bounced back on Tuesday, with Chinese markets reversing some of their previous plunge amid official efforts to calm virus fears, although investor sentiment remained fragile with oil near its 13-month lows.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.5 per cent, led by gains in South Korea and Australia. Japan’s Nikkei edged 0.6 per cent higher.
Chinese indices steadied in choppy trade, after anxiety over the spreading coronavirus erased some $400 billion in market value from Shanghai's benchmark index on Monday once markets resumed from the Lunar New Year holiday.
The Shanghai Composite gained 1.2 per cent, while the blue-chip CSI300 rebounded 2.5 per cent, one day after a nearly 8 per cent slide on Monday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1 per cent.
Despite the relative market calm on Tuesday, the outbreak continued to generate concerning headlines with Hong Kong reporting its first coronavirus death — the second fatality outside mainland China with the total death toll now at 427.
“Chinese authorities have been providing a lot of support to the financial markets. There’s a level of assurance that the rout would not be allowed to go on much further than necessary,” said Christy Tan, head (markets strategy for Asia), National Australia Bank, Singapore.