Asian Shares Rally As U.S. Lawmakers Strike Deal On Stimulus

Asian stocks rallied on Wednesday after U.S. Senators and Trump administration officials reached an agreement on a massive economic stimulus package worth about $2 trillion to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped 59.15 points, or 2.2 percent, to 2,781.59 as mainland China reported a drop in new imported coronavirus cases and no locally transmitted infections. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged up 863.70 points, or 3.8 percent, to 23,527.19.

A survey showed that more than one fifth of American companies in China are back to normal operations after widespread disruptions to business operations, supply chains and economic activity.

Japanese shares posted strong gains as aggressive asset buying from the Bank of Japan and robust buying of wide-ranging securities, particularly by pension funds, triggered a wave of short covering.

The Nikkei 225 Index spiked 1,454.28 points, or 8 percent, to 19,546.63, marking its biggest daily gain since the peak of the global financial crisis in October 2008. The broader Topix closed 6.9 percent higher at 1,424.62.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group jumped 10 percent, while Dentsu Group, Japan’s main marketing agency for the Tokyo Olympics, surged 11.7 percent.

Australian markets ended sharply higher amid a broad-based rally on optimism over the U.S. stimulus bill. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index temporarily broke through the 5,000 level before finishing the session up 262.40 points, or 5.5 percent, at 4,998.10. The broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 252.90 points, or 5.3 percent, at 5,006.20.

Qantas Airways surged over 26 percent as it secured A$1.05 billion ($627.8 million) against its aircraft fleet to help it ride out the coronavirus crisis.

Virgin Australia jumped 14.5 percent after announcing it is slashing domestic capacity. Hearing implant maker Cochlear entered a trading halt after a capital raising announcement.

The big four banks climbed 9-12 percent after S&P Global Ratings said the country’s banks should be able to absorb increased credit losses due to covid-19 within their annual earnings.

Miners BHP, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto advanced 5-10 percent. Gold miner Evolution Mining soared 10.3 percent and Newcrest added 6.9 percent.

Seoul stocks extended gains from the previous session as U.S. Senate leaders reached a deal with the Trump administration on a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package and finance ministers of the Group of Seven advanced economies vowed to restore economic growth in the face of the pandemic.

The benchmark Kospi spiked 94.79 points, or 5.9 percent, to 1,704.76 despite foreign investors extending their selling streak to a 15th consecutive session.

Automakers paced the gainers. Hyundai Motor spiked 13 percent and its affiliate Kia Motors gained 8.9 percent. In the tech sector, Samsung Electronics rose 3.6 percent and SK Hynix gained 7.4 percent.

New Zealand shares rose for the second straight day, with underlying sentiment helped by a strong rally on Wall Street overnight and the government’s domestic support package.

The benchmark NZX 50 Index climbed 155.23 points, or 1.7 percent to 9,264.38. Campervan and tourism operator Tourism Holdings rallied 20.6 percent and television broadcaster Sky Network Television jumped 34.2 percent.

New Zealand posted a merchandise trade surplus of NZ$594 million in February, Statistics New Zealand said today. That beat expectations for a surplus of NZ$550 million following the NZ$340 million deficit in January.

The Indonesian market was closed for a public holiday. Malaysia’s KLSE Composite Index jumped 2.6 percent. The country’s central bank said the banking system had enough liquidity to ease financial strains and support intermediation activities.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index spiked 6.1 percent. In a joint ministerial statement, the government said it would work closely with six other countries to identify and address trade disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. stocks soared overnight amid signs that Democrats and Republicans were closing in on an agreement on a massive fiscal stimulus bill. Traders also reacted positively to President Trump’s push to shorten the coronavirus shutdown and get the economy back up and running.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average skyrocketed 11.4 percent to post its biggest percentage gain since 1933, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 8.1 percent and the S&P 500 soared 9.4 percent.

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