Asian markets rise on optimism over more U.S. stimulus

Asian markets rise on optimism over more U.S. stimulus

Stocks jump to gains in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul

BEIJING — Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher Tuesday after President Joe Biden invited Republicans to a meeting to discuss economic aid, while silver eased off an eight-year high.

Market benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul all advanced.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index gained 1.6%, recovering some of losses earlier in the week amid frenzied trading of video game retailer GameStop and other stocks targeted by novice day traders.

In Washington, Biden invited 10 moderate Republicans to the White House to discuss his proposed $1.9 trillion economic aid plan. Republicans earlier countered with an offer of $600 billion, or less than one-third of Biden’s proposed amount.

“The sound of more stimulus, which tends to raise all boats, was music to the market’s ears,” said Stephen Innes of Axi in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index CN:SHCOMP rose 0.5% while the Nikkei 225 JP:NIK in Tokyo added 0.8%. The Hang Seng HK:HSI in Hong Kong advanced 1.8%.

The Kospi KR:180721 in Seoul was 1.6% higher and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 AU:XJO gained 1.4%.

Stocks retreated in New Zealand NZ:NZ50GR but rose in Indonesia ID:JAKIDX, Singapore SG:STI and Taiwan TW:Y9999.

Silver declined after jumping at one point to its highest level in eight years.

Silver for March delivery SIH21 shed 81 cents, or 2.7%, to $28.61 per ounce in London.

Last week, there were messages on the Reddit forum WallStreet Bets and other places on social media encouraging small investors to buy silver. It shot up Monday, but many online investors said it wasn’t them bidding up the price.

Smaller traders are learning “the silver market is much bigger than some of the small cap stocks they have been trading,” said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report. “Silver coin purchases and call option bets are not enough of a driver to send silver prices skyrocketing to record high levels.”

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index SPX gained to 3,773.86. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA rose 0.8% to 30,211.91. The Nasdaq composite COMP climbed 2.5% to 13,403.39.

U.S. markets have been roiled by frenzied trading in GameStop and some other stocks that had been expected to decline but surged after novice traders bought. Other investors said hedge funds that bet against those stocks were losing money and selling other shares.

GameStop GME slumped 30.8% to $225 a share. It ended last year at about $18.

Hopes for economic aid, along with the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep low-cost credit plentiful, have carried the S&P 500 and other major indexes to record highs.

Investors bid up stocks heading into 2021 in expectation the rollout of coronavirus vaccines would allow global business and travel to return to normal. That optimism has been dented by infection spikes and disruptions in vaccine deliveries.

Markets were rattled last week by AstraZeneca’s AZN announcement it would supply the European Union with fewer than half the promised doses, which prompted the EU to impose export controls. On Sunday, AstraZeneca promised to increase European supplies and start delivery earlier.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude CLH21 rose 52 cents to $54.07 per barrel. The contract gained $1.35 on Monday to $53.55 a barrel. Brent crude BRNJ21, used to price international oils, added 49 cents to $56.84 per barrel in London. It advanced $1.31 the previous session to $56.35.

The dollar USDJPY edged down to 104.92 yen from Monday’s 104.94 yen.

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