TOKYO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rebounded on Friday as crude oil prices bounced and comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi stoked hopes of more stimulus for Europe.
The Nikkei share average jumped 3.4 percent to 16,552.63 points by midmorning, more than recouping its losses from the previous day.
But the benchmark index remained on track to shed more than 3 percent for the week.
“We’re seeing a really nice bounce today as lots of people close their short positions but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve seen the bottom,” said Nicholas Smith, a strategist at CLSA.
“It’s tough to know when a panic is going to subside but it does look like we’re starting to get there.”
Growth in Japanese manufacturing activity slowed slightly in January from December but remained solid as new export orders accelerated, a survey showed on Friday.
U.S. crude oil prices remained stable in early trading on Friday after bouncing away from 12-year lows the previous day.
“The market is reacting positively to the American Petroleum Institute figures reporting a 4 million barrel addition and not the 4.6 million barrel we’d expected,” said Martin King, co-managing director at Tyton Capital Advisors.
Global sentiment also improved after the European Central Bank held its main rates while Draghi said it would “review and possibly reconsider” its monetary policy as soon as March, ahead of the potential rate-cut schedule expected by analysts.
Economists polled by Reuters also expect more stimulus from the Bank of Japan in coming months, and a few traders believe it could move as early as next week.
Sharp Corp shares climbed to 6.3 percent in midmorning trade after the Nikkei business daily reported the ailing electronic company’s main creditors are looking to accept a rescue plan from a Japan government-backed fund.
Auto parts supplier Takata Corp soared 6.7 percent on a Kyodo news report that it may seek support from Japanese automakers as it prepares to tackle massive costs related to global recalls and compensation over its potentially faulty air bag inflators.
The broader Topix gained 3 percent to 1,340.37 with each of its 33 subindexes in positive territory but remained on course to end the week more than 4 percent lower.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 3 percent to 12,077.85. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Kim Coghill)