Asian Shares Climb On Economic Optimism

Asian stocks rose on Friday amid economic optimism as U.S. President Joe Biden pledged to double his administration’s vaccination rollout plan and the Federal Reserve reiterated that its expansive monetary policy would not come to an end until a nearly full recovery from the pandemic.

Chinese markets rebounded after closing at three-month lows the previous day amid regulatory concerns. The benchmark Shanghai Composite jumped 54.74 points, or 1.6 percent, to 3,418.33, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended up 436.82 points, or 1.6 percent, at 28,336.43.

Japanese shares rallied as investors sought bargains after a sharp drop this week. The Nikkei 225 Index surged up 446.82 points, or 1.6 percent, to 29,176.70, while the broader Topix closed 1.5 percent higher at 1,984.16.

Nikkei heavyweight SoftBank Group gained 1.8 percent and Uniqlo brand clothing store operator Fast Retailing rose 0.9 percent, while chip testing equipment maker Advantest spiked 4.7 percent.

Exporters ended broadly higher, with Toyota Motor rising 2.5 percent and Sony gaining 2 percent. In economic news, Tokyo’s consumer prices declined at a slower pace in March, a government report showed.

Australian markets rose for the third straight day on economic recovery hopes. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 33.60 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,824.20, marking its highest close in eight sessions as bond yields retreated. The broader All Ordinaries index ended up 40.50 points, or 0.6 percent, at 7,063.10.

Telstra rallied 2.4 percent after the telecommunications giant said it would scrap its New Zealand listing. Energy stocks finished broadly higher as oil prices bounced back from steep losses in the previous session.

Santos rose 1.1 percent after announcing it has restarted production at its Ningaloo Vision floating production and storage vessel following scheduled maintenance.

Mining heavyweight climbed 2.2 percent, while banks ANZ, Westpac and NAB rose about 1 percent. Rare earths miner Lynas surged 4.3 percent after reporting a better-than-expected financial result.

Wealth manager AMP gained 0.8 percent after denying reports that CEO Francesco De Ferrari had resigned.

News Corp. jumped 2 percent after it acquired digital business news outlet Investor’s Business Daily for US$275 million from O’Neil Capital Management.

Seoul stocks gained ground for the second straight day as oil steadied, the vaccine drive picked up pace and a survey showed a measure of consumer confidence in the country improved in March.

The benchmark Kospi jumped 32.68 points, or 1.1 percent, to 3,041.01 as foreigners ended their five-day selling streak. Chipmaker SK Hynix advanced 1.5 percent and chemical firm LG Chem added 1.8 percent.

Meanwhile, New Zealand shares fell modestly, with the benchmark NZX 50 Index ending down 39.23 points, or 0.3 percent, at 12,348.83. The index ended the week down about 1 percent.

U.S. stocks saw a late-session surge to end higher overnight after President Joe Biden set a new goal of administering 200 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a one-year low last week and U.S. GDP was revised slightly upwards to an annualized rate of 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter, adding to signs of a resurgent economy.

The Dow rose 0.6 percent, the S&P 500 gained half a percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.1 percent.

Source: Read Full Article