March 4, 2021

Asian Stocks Rally Following Gains on Wall Street

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stocks climbed Thursday following gains on Wall Street that were driven by positive manufacturing data and hopes that the Federal Reserve may to unveil another round of stimulus.

Oil rose above $89 a barrel while the dollar strengthened against the euro and the yen.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 advanced 1.4 percent to 9,077.33 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.4 percent to 20,831.65.

South Korea’s Kospi gained 2 percent to 1,916.82 and Australia’s SP/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 4,325.50. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore also gained.

Asian stocks took their lead from gains in the U.S. following a surge in factory orders, which investors took as a sign that the manufacturing industry is still healthy. Some investors are also holding out hope the Federal Reserve may announce a third round of government bond purchases — known as quantitative easing III or QE3 — to support the economy because of worries the U.S. may slide back into recession. Analysts say a weak U.S. jobs report on Friday could push the Fed to act.

“The first point is that Asia is following the U.S.,” said Steven Lam, a vice president at Karl Thomson Securities. “The other point is the market is still speculating that the US may have another QE3 or besides QE3, there will be some policy to stimulate the economy of the U.S. So the two factors together, that’s leading the recent market increase.”

However, mainland Chinese stock markets fell, with the Shanghai Composite index dipping 0.2 percent to 2,562.52 even after a monthly survey showed manufacturing regaining momentum in August. The purchasing managers index crept 0.2 points higher to 50.9, indicating activity expanded slightly.

Lam said the reading shows that economic growth is stable but “without a strong trend for increase.”

On Wall Street on Wednesday, U.S. stocks ended higher for a fourth straight day. The Dow rose 0.5 percent to end at 11,613.53. The Standard Poor’s 500 index rose 0.5 percent to 1,218.89. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.1 percent to 2,579.46.

In currencies, the euro dropped to $1.4370 from $1.4380 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar rose to 76.83 yen from 76.60 yen.

Benchmark oil for October delivery rose 31 cents to $89.12 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude rose 9 cents to settle at $88.81 on Wednesday.

In London, Brent crude for October delivery rose 15 cents to $115 on the ICE Futures exchange.

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