Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher after tech gains

Beijing: Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Thursday following gains for major US tech stocks.

Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Australia rose.

US stocks have recovered most of this year’s losses, helping to push up global prices, despite rising numbers of American coronavirus infections that threaten to derail economic improvement. Investors are buying technology and other companies they expect to emerge stronger from the global downturn.

On Wednesday, Wall Street turned in its sixth gain in seven days when the benchmark S&P 500 index closed up 0.8 per cent. Amazon, Apple and Microsoft accounted for half that rise.

The uptick in sentiment seems unrelated to any specific news, said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.5 per cent to 3,451.93 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.7 per cent to 22,587.64.

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The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.5 per cent to 26,254.31 despite U.S.-Chinese tensions over a security law imposed on the territory.

The Kospi in Seoul was 0.7 per cent higher at 2,173.66 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.9 per cent to 5,974.40. New Zealand, Singapore and Bangkok retreated while Jakarta rose.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 3,169.94 and Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7 per cent, to 26,067.28. The Nasdaq composite gained 1.4 per cent to 10,492.50.

Optimism is rising about a reopening U.S. economy, but virus case numbers are rising across much of the South and West. Some state governments have reversed plans to allow restaurants and other businesses to reopen.

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Amazon added 2.7 per cent, Apple rose 2.3 per cent and Microsoft gained 2.2 per cent.

Major companies are due to report quarterly results next week. They are expected to be dismal.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 7 cents to USD 40.85 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 28 cents on Wednesday to settle at USD 40.90. Brent crude, the international price benchmark, shed 1 cent to USD 43.28 per barrel in London. It added 21 cents the previous session to USD 43.29.

The dollar edged down to 107.29 yen from Wednesday’s 107.31 yen. The euro was little-changed at USD 1.1360.

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