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Asian Stock Markets Rebound After US Rate Cut


Asian stocks recouped some of their steep losses of the past two days after market confidence received a shot in the arm from the U.S. Federal Reserve. But as VOA's Heda Bayron reports from Hong Kong, stock analysts say the markets may remain volatile despite Tuesday's U.S. interest-rate cut.

Most Asian indexes jumped within minutes of opening Wednesday as investors heaved a sigh of relief after two days of panic selling.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point - its biggest cut in more than two decades.

However, Ben Kwong, strategist at KGI Capital Asia in Hong Kong, says it is not yet clear if the rate cut will have a long-term impact.

"I think the rate cut by the Fed is a little bit late and the market is expecting more," he said. "I think today the rebound is just mainly due to short covering and not due to genuine buying. I think investors still have to see if the market can stabilize at the current level."

Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed more than two percent Wednesday, after losing more than nine percent in two days. South Korea's KOSPI rose more than one percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 surged 4.4 percent.

Some stock analysts say the Fed's surprise intervention Tuesday signaled that the toll on the U.S. economy of the home mortgage crisis may be worse than expected.

They expect another rate cut next week when the Federal Open Market Committee - which sets U.S. monetary policy - meets again.

As the specter of a U.S. recession loomed, investors in the region have been selling shares in companies viewed highly vulnerable to a U.S. economic slowdown - mainly Asian exporters. In Wednesday's rallies, some exporters rose along with the rest of the market.

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