Asian Shares Rally After Fed’s Bond Move

Asian stocks soared on Tuesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve outlined plans to buy individual corporate bonds to help prop up the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Chinese shares rose even as Beijing entered “wartime mode” in response to a troubling new cluster of coronavirus infections. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 41.72 points, or 1.4 percent, to finish at 2,931.75, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rallied 567.14 points, or 2.4 percent, to 24,344.09.

Japanese shares also moved sharply higher amid hopes for a multi-million dollar infrastructure plan in the U.S. The Nikkei 225 Index soared 1,051.26 points, or 4.9 percent, to 22,582.21, while the broader Topix index closed 4.1 percent higher at 1,593.45.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group advanced 2.8 percent and Fast Retailing added 3.6 percent. Exporters Canon, Panasonic, Toyota Motor and Honda Motor climbed 4-8 percent as the yen declined slightly after the Bank of Japan’s interest rate decision.

After keeping its monetary policy settings steady, the Bank of Japan increased the nominal size of its lending packages for cash-strapped firms to $1 trillion from about $700 billion announced last month.

Australian markets soared to snap a three-day losing streak on improved risk appetite after the Fed expanded the scope of its bond-buying program.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index spiked 222.50 points, or 3.9 percent, to 5,942.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index surged up 228.10 points, or 3.9 percent, to 6,058.10.

Energy companies such as Woodside Petroleum and Santos gained 4-5 percent after oil prices rose more than 2 percent overnight. Origin Energy surged 6.5 percent and Oil Search soared 8.6 percent.

Viva Energy shares skyrocketed 15.5 percent after the refiner forecast a better than expected first-half core profit.

Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group surged 3-4 percent, while the big four banks all rose over 4 percent. Super Retail Group jumped nearly 10 percent after completing a $203 million equity raising.

In economic news, minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s June 2 meeting revealed that the stimulus the bank has put in place to combat the Covid-19 pandemic will remain for an extended period of time.

A government report showed that house prices in Australia were up 1.6 percent sequentially in the first quarter of 2020. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 2.7 percent following the 3.9 percent gain in the three months prior.

Seoul stocks posted strong gains despite North Korea’s military threatening to send back troops that it had withdrawn from areas near the South Korean border. The benchmark Kospi surged 107.23 points, or 5.3 percent, to 2,138.05.

New Zealand shares joined a global rally amid optimism that global policymakers are doing everything they can to support the world economy.

The benchmark NZX-50Iindex rose by 89.73 points, or 0.8 percent, to 10,953.85, led by dual-listed banks.

U.S. stocks rose overnight as a measure of regional manufacturing activity unexpectedly stabilized in June and the Federal Reserve announced it will begin purchases of individual corporate bonds to support market liquidity and the availability of credit for large employers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1.4 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.8 percent.

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