Markets

Asian Shares Nudge Higher On EU Deal

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks rose on Tuesday as positive results from trials of experimental Covid-19 vaccines helped ease worries about the spike in coronavirus cases worldwide and investors welcomed an EU accord on a landmark stimulus package to fight the aftershocks of the virus outbreak.

Chinese shares ended a choppy session higher as hopes for a coronavirus vaccine helped lift healthcare stocks. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index edged up 6.75 points, or 0.20 percent, to 3,320.89, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended up 2.31 percent at 25,635.66.

Japanese markets closed higher, led by technology stocks. The Nikkei average rose 166.74 points, or 0.73 percent, to 22,884.22 ahead of a four-day weekend, while the broader Topix index closed 0.36 percent higher at 1,582.74.

Tech stocks led the surge after Amazon and Microsoft drove the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite index to another record overnight. Heavyweight SoftBank Group surged 3.1 percent, while Tokyo Electron advanced 2.3 percent and Screen Holdings added 4.1 percent.

Drug maker Shionogi climbed 2.8 percent on a Nikkei report that it was expanding its capacity to produce vaccines.

On the data front, consumer prices in Japan were up 0.1 percent year-on-year year in June, a government report showed - matching expectations and unchanged from the May reading.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, was unchanged on an annual basis - versus forecasts for a drop of 0.1 percent.

Australian markets posted strong gains as trial data from three potential vaccines showed positive results and the Reserve Bank governor said the country's economy has passed its low point.

In his annual speech to the Anika Foundation, Philip Lowe pointed to last week's June jobs numbers as evidence that the economy has turned the corner but faces a bumpy path ahead.

Minutes from the central bank's July 7 meeting released earlier in the day revealed that board members want the target for three-year yields to be maintained until progress made towards full employment, inflation.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 154.70 points, or 2.58 percent, to 6,156.30 as the government said it will extend record stimulus spending into next year. The broader All Ordinaries index ended up 156.50 points, or 2.56 percent, at 6,268.80.

Tech stocks followed their U.S. peers higher, with buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay surging as much as 8 percent.

Miners rose for a third straight session, tracking higher commodity prices. BHP gained 1.1 percent despite flagging waning demand. Rio Tinto rose 0.9 percent and Fortescue Metals Group advanced 3 percent.

Gold miners surged after bullion prices jumped overnight to their highest level since September 2011. Evolution Mining gained 3.1 percent and Norther Star Resources added 4.6 percent.

Energy company Santos jumped 3.5 percent after announcing it will record non-cash impairment charges of up to A$800 million in its 2020 interim results. Oil Search advanced 4.3 percent despite reporting a nearly 30 percent fall in second-quarter revenue.

Downer EDI shares entered a trading halt after the engineering and services provider announced a A$400 million capital raising to bolster its balance sheet.

Seoul stocks gained ground as more promising news emerged in the search for a coronavirus vaccine and EU leaders reached a landmark deal on a post-coronavirus recovery package to support pandemic-hit economic activities.

The benchmark Kospi inched up 30.63 points, or 1.39 percent, to 2,228.83. Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and Naver all rose over 2 percent.

New Zealand stocks rallied, with the benchmark NZX 50 index climbing 183.57 points, or 1.59 percent, to 11,736.73.

U.S. stocks advanced overnight as promising early data on a host of Covid-19 vaccine candidates countered fears over a surge in infections in some states.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up marginally and the S&P 500 added 0.8 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite soared as much as 2.5 percent to reach a fresh record closing high.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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