Asian Shares Rise On Stimulus Hopes

Asian stocks moved higher on Tuesday even as confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus continued to rise. Investors seemed reassured by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge to win the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Markets in Japan were closed in observance of National Day.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 11.19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,901.67 amid bets that Chinese policy makers will likely roll out more measures to minimize the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 342.54 point, or 1.3 percent, to 27,583.88.

Australian markets rose notably after the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed at record highs overnight, boosted by, Microsoft and Alphabet.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 42.80 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,055.30, led by financial and industrial companies. The broader All Ordinaries Index rose by 43.40 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,151.40.

Information technology stocks advanced, with Xero and Afterpay ending up more than 2 percent. Gold miner Northern Star Resources edged up slightly to extend gains for the fourth straight session on strong half-yearly results.

The big four banks rose between half a percent and 0.7 percent. Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Oil Search gained between 0.7 percent and 1.2 percent as oil prices rose more than 1 percent in Asian trading in sympathy with a rally in equity markets. Beach Energy tumbled 2.5 percent on weak first-half results.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto eked out modest gains, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group climbed 2.4 percent.

Challenger soared nearly 14 percent. After reporting a 3 percent increase in profit before tax for the first half of the year, the investment management company said it expects full-year profit at the top end of its guidance range.

Transurban Group gained 1.4 percent. The toll road operator reported a 46 percent surge in its statutory net profit for the first half of the year and said it will pay a higher interim distribution compared to the year-ago period.

Meanwhile, Cochlear lost 3.4 percent after the hearing implants maker lowered its earnings guidance, citing the adverse impact of the coronavirus on sales.

Insurance giant Suncorp Group fell 1.3 percent after its net profit from continuing operations for the first half of the year declined 7 percent, reflecting a surge in bushfire and hailstorm claims.

Seoul stocks posted strong gains to snap a two-day losing streak as investors found comfort from strength in the world’s largest economy.

The benchmark Kospi jumped 22.05 points, or 1 percent, to close at 2,223.12. Top automaker Hyundai Motor surged 1.9 percent and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors advanced 1.7 percent.

New Zealand shares rallied, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index surging up 131.95 points, or 1.1 percent, to 11,834.54. Dual-listed banks rose, with Westpac closing up 1.5 percent and ANZ adding 0.7 percent.

Electricity generator Meridian Energy jumped 2.8 percent, Contact Energy rallied 3.5 percent and Spark New Zealand advanced 1.5 percent.

U.S. stocks recovered from an early drop to close higher overnight as signs of strength in the domestic economy helped investors shrug off coronavirus concerns.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 0.7 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1.1 percent to end the session at fresh record highs.

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