Asian stocks rebound following Wall Street rally

Asian stocks rebounded Thursday as higher oil prices revived investor interest in commodity companies and corporate announcements in Japan helped investors shake off worries over the European debt crisis.

Oil prices hovered above $101 per barrel while the dollar was down against the yen and the euro.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.4 percent to 9,546.16. Office equipment maker Ricoh's stock surged 5.1 percent after it said it would slash 10,000 workers, or nearly 10 percent of its group work force, over the next three years in a bid to boost efficiency and profitability.

Shares in Canon rose 5.4 percent a day after the camera maker announced it would spend as much as 50 billion yen ($183 million) buying back up to 1.2 percent of its shares.

South Korea's Kospi leaped 1.8 percent to 2,072.31 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 0.5 percent higher to 22,857.71.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was 1.2 percent higher at 4,638.70. Benchmarks in Taiwan and mainland China also rose.

The gains in Asia came after stocks in New York closed higher Wednesday as oil prices rose above $101, offsetting worries about the global economic recovery.

PetroChina Ltd., the publicly traded unit of China's biggest oil and gas company, was up 1.3 percent in Hong Kong. CNOOC, China's main offshore oil and gas producer, was up 1.9 percent.

"For today, CNOOC and Petrochina have had good moves but they had already dropped to low levels, so it's an excuse for rebound," said Linus Yip, chief strategist for First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong.

Yip said that while stocks are up, trading volume was thin and there is still plenty for investors to be pessimistic about because the global economy is still in a fragile state.

"The slowing down of the global economy is still the major concern for the global market," he said.

In a report Wednesday, the U.N. said emerging Asian and Latin American economies are leading the recovery. But it warned of risks including sustainability of public finances in developed economies, continued high and volatile commodity prices and a possible collapse of the dollar.

Still, Thursday's rebound came as a relief for markets, which have been battered in recent days by worries that Europe's debt crisis may be growing, especially in Greece.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent to close at 12,394.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 1,320.47. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.6 percent to 2,761.38.

Benchmark crude for July delivery was up 49 cents to $101.82 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday. The contract gained $1.73 to settle at $101.32 a barrel on Wednesday.

A weaker dollar helped oil prices gain. With oil priced in dollars, a weaker greenback makes crude more affordable for investors with foreign currency to spend.

Benchmark oil for July delivery rose 23 cents to $101.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.73 to settle at $101.32 on Wednesday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.4162 from $1.4082 in late trading Wednesday in New York. The dollar was lower at 81.87 yen from 81.99.

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AP reporter Shino Yuasa contributed from Tokyo.