By Associated Press
Shares were mixed in Asia on Thursday after a 3.4% gain on Wall Street overnight as investors chose a positive focus for data about the coronavirus outbreak’s trajectory.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.88% lost 0.3% after the central bank governor said the economy faces “extremely high” uncertainty over the likely impact of the pandemic.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +2.11% added 0.7% and the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -1.15% gained 0.3%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.47% picked up 1.9% and South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.35% was 0.9% higher. Shares rose in Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.05% but fell in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -0.88% , Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -0.44% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +0.63% .
Recent upward swings in markets have dwarfed declines amid signs that deaths and infections may be nearing a peak or plateau in some of the world’s hardest-hit areas.
That’s led some investors to begin looking to the other side of the economic shutdown that is gripping the world as authorities try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The S&P 500 has jumped nearly 23% in the last two and a half weeks, building on earlier gains driven by massive amounts of aid promised by governments and central banks for the economy and markets.
“Risk assets continued to rally on the perception that the global economy will open up again quicker than expected,” Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a commentary.
The prospect for progress in talks among oil producers was a big driver of Wednesday’s rally, along with the signs of virus infections leveling off in several global hotspots and increased clarity in the U.S. presidential race, said Adam Taback, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.
Oil prices have been even more volatile than stocks recently as Russia and Saudi Arabia bicker over production levels as demand withers. Oil producers are set to meet on Thursday, and an announcement for production cuts to prop up the price of crude is possible.
“The icing on the cake, ... a ‘good’ outcome for oil prices from the OPEC+ meeting would be a global agreement to cut output ... beyond OPEC and Russia, although demand concerns will persist,” Innes said.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 70 cents to $25.79 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange early Thursday. It gained $1.46, or 6.2%, to settle at $25.09 a barrel on Wednesday, recovering some of its 9.4% slide from the day before.
Brent crude oil , the international standard, rose 44 cents to $33.28 per barrel. It gained 97 cents, or 3%, to $32.84 a barrel in London.
Many analysts say they’re skeptical of the recent stock rally given how much uncertainty still remains. The death toll continues to rise, millions of people are still losing their jobs by the week and the economic pain is worldwide.