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Asian shares extend gains as economic recovery hopes build

Swati Pandey and Anshuman Daga/Sydney
Filed on June 9, 2020
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a bank electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Tuesday. - AP

Asian shares were mixed on Tuesday after the Nasdaq hit a record high.

Asian stocks extended their winning streak for the ninth consecutive session on Tuesday and oil prices rose as the lifting of coronavirus lockdowns in many countries fed investor hopes of a relatively quick global economic recovery.

European markets were set to follow that lead with pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 futures up 0.4 per cent and DAX futures rising 0.3 per cent. US S&P 500 futures eased 0.15 per cent.

The big bout of optimism for equity markets came last week after US jobs data showed a surprise fall in the unemployment rate, sending Wall Street indices surging with the Nasdaq closing at a record level on Monday.

Global markets were mauled in March as investors fretted over the extent of both the short- and longer-term damage to the world economy from the coronavirus pandemic. But most indices are now back to pre-Covid-19 levels.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan advanced for a ninth straight session for its longest winning streak since early 2018. It was last up 1per cent at a three-month peak and has risen 35 per cent from 4-year lows struck in mid-March.

"The good news is that this shows central banks' effort to stabilise the market have worked," said Tai Hui, chief Asia market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

"The current risk rally is driven by investors' belief that the worst of this recession is behind us, which we agree with. Yet, investors need to be mindful of the potential risks ahead."

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 surged 2.6 per cent, China's blue-chip CSI300 index advanced 0.7 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 1.6 per cent. Japan's Nikkei bucked the trend to be down 0.6 per cent.

Tai said the "road to recovery" was still long while the threat of a second wave of coronavirus infections cannot be ruled out yet.

Fears of renewed trade tensions between the United States and China and the second round impact from higher unemployment and bankruptcies worldwide also hung heavy on the outlook.

For now, though, investors were taking a glass-half-full view on the global economy. Financial, automotive and retail-oriented and energy shares - the stocks most beaten-down since the pandemic slammed markets - have been leading world equity indices higher recently.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow rose 1.7 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 1.20 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.13 per cent.

Equity strategists at Credit Suisse said the economic recovery was more likely to be "V-shaped", thanks to policy stimulus, and faster than the "U-shaped" recovery expected by investors, suggesting more upside for markets.

Credit Suisse economists expect "a return to pre-virus levels of GDP by mid-2022."

US stocks were also bolstered by the Federal Reserve's move to ease the terms of its "Main Street" lending programme to encourage more businesses and banks to participate.

Investors are now seeking further clarity on US monetary policy after the Fed's two-day policy meeting ends on Wednesday.

In currency markets, the risk-sensitive Australian dollar hit a five-month top of $0.7043 after eight straight days of gains but has encountered some selling pressure at those heady levels.

Its New Zealand counterpart jumped to a four-month high. The safe-haven Japanese yen also nudged up 0.2 per cent at 108.15, while the euro was off a touch at $1.1285.

In commodities, US benchmark crude rose 0.3 per cent to $38.30 a barrel, while Brent was little changed. Gold prices inched up after a recent steep decline, boosted by hopes of a dovish monetary policy outlook from the Fed. - Reuters

 


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