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Asian shares rise on hopes of global economic recovery

written by Bella Palmer

Nikkei 225 climbed 1.3% to 28,716.68, S&P/ASX 200 added 1.1% to 6,840.50, Kospi gained 0.7% to 3,107.88, Hang Seng advanced 0.8% to 29,337.67, and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.5% to 3,520.70

Asian shares rose Friday, echoing a rally on Wall Street, as hopes grew for a gradual global economic recovery from the damage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 surged 1.3% in afternoon trading to 28,716.68. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1% to 6,840.50, and South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.7% to 3,107.88. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 0.8% to 29,337.67, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.5% to 3,520.70.

Venkateswaran Lavanya of Mizuho Bank in Singapore said Asian markets are getting a lift from positive employment data from the U.S., which has set off a mood of “confidence about the U.S. economy getting back on its feet.”

What appears in global data as the gradual decline in COVID-19 cases is also nurturing hopes for a rebound. So are rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines, Lavanya said.

Wall Street was cheered by strong company earnings and optimism that Washington can reach a deal for another round of fiscal stimulus for millions of Americans.

The S&P 500 index rose 1.1% to 3,871.74. It was the index’s fourth-straight gain. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 1.1%, to 31,055.86. The technology-heavy Nasdaq gained 1.2%, to 13,777.74, also an all-time high. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks climbed 2%, to 2,202.42.

Financial and technology companies led the way. Small-company stocks also had a strong showing, another bullish signal that investors are feeling more optimistic about the economy.

There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic and, obviously, there’s a tremendous amount of stimulus in the system with talks of more, Brian Price, head of investment management for Commonwealth Financial Network.

Wall Street continues to be focused on company earnings. Shares of eBay rose 5.3% and PayPal climbed 7.4% after both companies reported results that beat Wall Street's expectations.

We’re really impressed with how corporate America has come through earnings season so far, said Jeff Buchbinder, equity strategist at LPL Financial.


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