Asian Stocks Up as U.S. Stimulus Measures Drive Hopes for Economic Recovery

Asian Stocks Up as U.S. Stimulus Measures Drive Hopes for Economic Recovery

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly up on Tuesday morning, with the potential expansion of the latest U.S. stimulus measures continuing to increase investor risk appetites.

The House of Representatives voted to increase the amounts on the stimulus checks to qualified Americans from $600 to $2,000. The Senate will also vote on the increase, with investors watching to see whether it will be passed there as well.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.62% by 10:15 PM ET (3:15 AM GMT), hitting a 29-year high.

South Korea’s KOSPI edged down 0.19% while in Australia, the ASX 200 was up 0.38%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.91%.

China’s Shanghai Composite edged down 0.19% while the Shenzhen Component was edged up 0.14%.

Congress' passage of the stimulus measures, and the addition of President Donald Trump’s signature on the $2.3 trillion pandemic bill on Sunday, saw U.S. shares climb to record highs during the previous sessions as investor hopes for an economic recovery increased.

The European Union and the U.K.’s sealing of a post-Brexit trade deal before the Christmas holidays also boosted sentiment.

“With the Brexit deal … and the U.S. stimulus deal now in the rear-view mirror, there is a sense of relief that we have avoided the respective worst-case scenarios,” Axi chief global market strategist Stephen Innes told Reuters.

Global shares have also hit record levels in December, even as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise globally. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) also upgraded its first-quarter U.S. economic growth forecast thanks to the stimulus measures.

“Where we are right now in the equity market is somewhat of a sweet spot,” “We’ve got stimulus, likely more on the way. You’ve got great comps on earnings going into next year with respect to equities, and you have a pent-up demand situation as the economy both in the U.S. and globally comes out of COVID-19,” Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds president and portfolio manager Michael Cuggino told Bloomberg.

The U.S. will also release pending home sales and goods trade balance data on Wednesday.

However, the fight against COVID-19 continues as two new, more infectious strains of the virus continues to spread. Indonesia has imposed a temporary ban on all foreigners from entering the country, and Taiwan increased the quarantine period for flight crews to seven days.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. surpassed 19.2 million as of Dec. 29, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Germany is also seeking to expand the production of COVID-19 vaccines to boost the rollout of Europe’s vaccination program.

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