Investing.com - Stocks in Asia rallied Friday after the European Central Bank announced a huge cash injection to kick start the eurozone economy, while crude prices surged on news that the monarch of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia had died.
Elsewhere, the HSBC January initial estimate came in at 49.8, compared to December's final of 49.6, but the January flash output index ticked up to 50.1 from 49.9 in December, placing it just in expansion territory above 50.
"Domestic demand improved marginally while external demand remained solid," said Hongbin Qu, Chief Economist, China and joint head of Asian economic research at HSBC. "The labor market weakened and prices fell further. Today's data suggest that the manufacturing slowdown is still ongoing amidst weak domestic demand. More monetary and fiscal easing measures will be needed to support growth in the coming months."
The ECB's unprecedented decision to pump tens of billions of dollars a month into financial markets sent the euro plunging to 11-year lows against the dollar and also fuelled a buying spree in US and European stock markets.
The Hang Seng index rose 1.41%, the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.69%, the S&P/ASX 200 added 1.35%, while the Kopsi gained 0.87%. Tokyo jumped 0.84% by the break.
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz died on Friday and was replaced by Crown Prince Salman, the royal court said in a statement. Analysts are watching to see if the pro-U.S. policies followed by Abdullah continue.
Among Asian energy companies Sydney-listed Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX:WPL) jumped 2.38% and Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) rallied 5.53%, while in TokyoInpex Corp. (TOKYO:1605) climbed 1.21%. In Hong KongPetrochina (HK:0857) was 1.49% higher and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co Ltd (HK:0338) added 1.6%.
Overnight, U.S. stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Financials, Technology and Consumer Services sectors led shares higher.
At the close in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.48%, while the S&P 500 index gained 1.53%, and the NASDAQ Composite index climbed 1.78%.
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