Asian markets rose in early trading Tuesday as investors weighed the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak and waited for an expected new round of economic stimulus measures by China.
The death toll in China rose to more than 1,000 on Tuesday, with more than 42,000 people infected. The growing number of fatalities — Tuesday was the first day China reported more than 100 dead in a single day — is causing worries that the outbreak has yet to peak.
China’s President Xi Jinping offered reassurance in a TV appearance, thanking health workers and saying: “The fundamentals of China’s long-term economic development remain unchanged and the impact of the novel coronavirus epidemic on the economy is short-lived,” the Associated Press reported.
Experts were optimistic that China’s central bank would deliver further stimulus to boost the economy.
“For the [People’s Bank of China], the most critical task at hand is to step up the support for the domestic economy to cushion the blow from the coronavirus outbreak,” Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp, wrote in a note, saying he expects such moves this week or next. “While a plethora of uncertainties remain around [the coronavirus], one sure thing you can probably count on is that the mother of all stimulus measures will get laid down by the PBoC.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HONG:HK:HSI) gained 1.2%, while the Shanghai Composite (SHG:CN:SHCOMP) advanced 0.3%. The smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite (SHENHZEN:CN:399106) dipped 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi (KOREA:KR:180721) rose 1.3%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan (TAIWAN:TW:Y9999) , Singapore (SES:SG:STI) and Indonesia (INDONESIA:ID:JAKIDX) advanced, while stocks fell in Malaysia (KLS:MY:FBMKLCI) . Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO) edged up 0.6%. Japan’s Nikkei was closed for a holiday.
Among individual stocks, Geely Automobile (HKG:HK:175) surged in Hong Kong, as food processor WH Group (HKG:HK:288) and property developer Country Garden (HKG:HK:2007) advanced as well. Samsung (KRX:KR:005930) and SK Hynix (KRX:KR:000660) gained in South Korea, and Apple component maker Hon Hai Precision Industry (TAI:TW:2317) rose in Taiwan. Beach Energy (ASX:AU:BPT) fell in Australia after cutting its production outlook, while Fortescue Metals (ASX:AU:FMG) gained.
On Monday, the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 closed at record highs as solid corporate earnings outweighed concerns that the coronavirus outbreak would affect the global economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW:DJIA) rose 174.31 points to end at 29,276.82, a gain of 0.6%. The S&P 500 index (S&P:SPX) advanced 24.38 points, or 0.7%, ending at 3,352.09. The Nasdaq Composite Index (AMERICAN:COMP) added 107.88 points, or 1.1%, to finish at 9,628.39.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 56 cents to $50.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York mercantile Exchange, after sinking Monday to its lowest settlement in more than a year. Brent crude , the globel benchmark, rose 74 cents to $54.01 per barrel.
The dollar (XTUP:USDJPY) gained to 109.87 yen from Monday’s 109.76 yen.