Asian Shares Advance On Optimism Over Economic Recovery

Asian stocks rose broadly on Monday as signs of an economic rebound in China as well as hopes of more stimulus measures helped offset worries over a spike in Covid-19 cases in some U.S. states and other parts of the world.

The World Health Organization said that more than 200,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed worldwide on Saturday, marking the highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

Chinese stocks posted strong gains amid positive commentary on the market from state media, with the Securities Times saying that fostering a “healthy” bull market after the pandemic is now more important to the economy than ever.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index soared 180.07 points, or 5.7 percent, to 3,332.88, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 966.04 points, or 3.8 percent, to 26,339.16.

Investors shrugged off the latest survey from IHS Markey showing that the private sector in Hong Kong continued to contract in June.

Japanese shares hit a nearly one-month high as hopes of faster recovery in China helped investors shrug off worries about the rising number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Tokyo.

Tokyo reported 102 new coronavirus cases today, marking the fifth consecutive day of more than 100 infections.

The Nikkei 225 Index rallied 407.96 points, or 1.8 percent, to 22,714.44, the highest close since June 10. The broader Topix closed 1.6 percent higher at 1,577.15.

Cyclical stocks led the gains as Chinese shares soared on hopes of a swift economic recovery in China. Nissan Motor jumped 5.2 percent after the carmaker posted brisk sales in China last month. Heavyweight SoftBank Group advanced 2.4 percent to a 14-month high on hopes of share buyback.

Meanwhile, Australian markets finished modestly lower as investors fretted about a spike in Covid-19 cases both locally and globally. A late surge in the coronavirus infections has forced Australia to seal off the state of Victoria from the rest of the country as of midnight Tuesday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 43.30 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,014.60, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 37.80 points, or 0.6 percent, at 6,125.90.

The big four banks fell between 0.2 percent and half a percent ahead of a Reserve Bank of Australia policy meeting on Tuesday, with analysts expecting the central bank to maintain the cash rate at 0.25 percent.

Mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto lost 1.7 percent and 1 percent, respectively, while energy companies Beach Energy and Santos fell more than 1 percent each.

Mayne Pharma rallied 3.7 percent after it entered into an agreement with China’s Novast Laboratories to manufacture thirteen oral contraceptives that will be marketed in the U.S.

Event Hospitality and Entertainment declined 2 percent. The cinema and hotel operator said it will not pay a final dividend for the year ended June 2020 or the half year ending December 31, 2020.

Seoul stocks rose sharply after the country’s parliament approved a supplementary budget of 35.1 trillion won ($29.3 billion), raising hopes of a faster rebound by the pandemic-hit economy.

Meanwhile, South Korea reported 48 new coronavirus infections today, down from 61 reported Sunday and 63 on both Friday and Saturday.

The benchmark Kospi surged up 35.52 points, or 1.7 percent, to 2,187.93. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics jumped 2.6 percent after brokerage houses raised the company’s quarterly earnings estimate.

New Zealand shares rose notably, with the benchmark NZX 50 Index ending up 97.51 points, or 0.8 percent, at 11,656.21. Metlifecare shares soared 10.2 percent after the retirement village and aged care provider received a fresh takeover offer from Asia Pacific Village Group.

U.S. markets were closed on Friday for the Independence Day holiday.

European markets ended Friday’s session lower as investors mulled political upheaval in France as well as reports of conflict among policymakers over a stimulus package for the single-currency region.

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