Equity Markets Rise In Asia

US Senate rejects stimulus increase

US equities gave up their intra-day gains overnight as the US Senate disappointed on the fiscal stimulus front. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones eased -0.22% lower, and the Nasdaq fell -0.38%. In after-hours trading though, the futures on all three indexes have rebounded sharply, perhaps acknowledging the fact that increased fiscal payments were always likely to fail in the Senate. The Dow Jones and S&P e-mini futures have risen 0.20%, while Nasdaq futures have jumped 0.55% as tech stocks power higher on Chinese markets today. There may also be an element of big tech as the new haven, attracting invest money as a year-end risk hedge.

In Asia, today is the last trading day for Japan and South Korea. After an outsized rally yesterday, profit-taking has hit the Nikkei 225, which has fallen by 0.52%. The Kospi though has jumped 1.10% as investors pile into technology stocks across the region today. Hong Kong has leapt by 1.50% this morning, led by Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) which staged an impressive rally in the US overnight and continued in the same vein in Hong Kong today. Looking at the gainers, Hong Kong-listed China tech stocks are leading the way. That has flowed into the Shanghai Composite and CSI 300, which have jumped 0.70% and 1.10% respectively.

Tech-heavy Taipei has risen 0.55%, but ASEAN exchanges, although modestly higher, are lagging. In much the same theme of 2020, those markets, heavy in non-tech legacy industries have struggled to match their new economy peers. Singapore is 0.38% higher, with Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta just 0.05% higher.

Australian stock markets are suffering Covid-19 fright today. Cases are increasing in Sydney and are spreading out of their Northern beaches enclave. Looking at the crowds in the shopping malls and on Bondi beach, I am not surprised. The threat of increased lockdowns and more interstate travel restrictions has seen the All Ordinaries and ASX 200 fall 0.80% today so far.

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