Asia shares up on increase in oil prices

<p>US benchmark oil surged seven per cent yesterday.</p>

Asian stock markets rose today (February 4th) after oil prices climbed for a straight fourth day. US benchmark oil surged seven per cent yesterday as investors hope that prices will stabilise after falling as much as 60 per cent since June. 

However, some analysts warned that the oil rally did not "spell an all-clear", the BBC reports. "Oil prices have shown unusually sharp swings over the last few months, which are typical of markets trying to find a new equilibrium," Chang Weiliang from Mizuho wrote in a report.

"For one, US shale producers remain a game-changer, with their flexibility to add or cut operating oil rigs likely to keep the longer-term volatility of oil under wraps."

Japanese wages data released today also boosted sentiment, with labour income rising 1.6 per cent in December from a year earlier.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose two per cent to 17,678.74 and the broader Topix gained 1.8 per cent to close at 1,417 points.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 per cent to 24,679.76 and South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.6 per cent to 1,962.79. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.2 per cent to 5,777.30.

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