Asian Markets Rally Over U.S. Bailout Plan
LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:
The crisis is still far from over. This week will be crucial for the Bush administration's $700 billion plan to save financial markets. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is prodding Congress to move forward on the bailout package. An early look at how stock markets will react this week comes from Asia. Stock markets in the region were up today on the hope that U.S. lawmakers will grant the administration the authority to buy up the mountains of bad debt that plagued the U.S. financial system. NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Shanghai.
LOUISA LIM: One analyst described today's markets in triage terms. This should stem the bleeding, he said, but the patient is still very fragile. Around Asia, markets extended their gains on the back of the U.S. proposal to buy up $700 billion of bad debts. In Australia, stocks bounced up 4.5 percent, boosted by the ban on short-selling. Shanghai's markets were the strongest in the region, leaping 7.8 percent. But that was primarily as a reaction to Beijing's recent measures to support its ailing market, rather than the U.S. rescue plan.
In Japan there was a cautious welcome for the U.S. bailout. Tokyo's Nikkei index ended up 1.4 percent after hitting a three-year low last week. Many investors were cashing in ahead of the holiday tomorrow. Japan's largest brokerage, Nomura Holdings, shot up more than nine percent on the news it has bid for both the Asian and European operations of Lehman Brothers. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.4 percent. Another analyst described the market as coming out of the near panic stage. But the jitters are, it seems, here to stay. Louisa Lim, NPR News, Shanghai.