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May 26, 2020, 1:03 a.m. EDT

Asian shares climb as investors focus on global recovery hopes

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By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch


Getty Images/iStock Photos
Aerial view of Tokyo cityscape with Fuji mountain in Japan.

TOKYO (AP) — Shares rose in Asia on Tuesday as some regions in Japan resumed close-to-normal business activity, with hopes for economic recovery overshadowing worries over the coronavirus pandemic.

The market focus is shifting to how various nations are adapting to getting back to business, while striving to keep new COVID-19 cases in check.

Japan lifted its state of emergency under what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday called a new lifestyle, with widespread wearing of masks and face shields.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.59%  rose 2.7%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +1.88%  gained 2.4% and South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.91%  gained 1.2% to 2,019.06. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.0081%  added 1.8%, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.94%  advanced 0.7%.

“As is the financial market’s wont these days ... even the slimmest of positive news on the COVID-19 front triggers a bullish immune response and another wave of the peak-virus trade,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.

U.S. markets were closed for Memorial Day on Monday, while European benchmarks ended higher, reflecting the global investor optimism. France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -0.96%  jumped nearly 2.2% to end the day at 4,539.91. Germany’s DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.80%  surged 2.9% to 11,391.28. Trading was closed in Britain for a bank holiday.

Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief market economist with SMBC Nikko Securities, said global trade and production appeared to be bottoming out in May, though demand will likely recover gradually.

Comments from China’s central bank governor on support for its slowing economy also lifted sentiment.

Yi Gang, in an interview on the bank’s website, promised to push down borrowing costs for entrepreneurs and “support development of the real economy.”

He said the People’s Bank of China will pursue “more flexible” monetary policy. He said that was in line with official goals announced Friday by Premier Li Keqiang of helping smaller and private companies survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The interview was published as China’s largely ceremonial National People’s Congress holds its annual session, where other senior officials have stressed the need to push growth higher and create jobs, while steering clear of excess government spending.

Investors are also awaiting U.S. consumer confidence data for May and home sales for April, indicators that might give further clues into the severity of the downturn brought on by the pandemic.

Benchmark U.S. crude /zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed CL.1 +0.45%  gained $1.12 to $34.37 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed at $33.25 on Friday, and markets were closed on Monday.

Brent crude oil  , the international standard, rose 68 cents to $36.79 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.0532%  rose to 107.85 Japanese yen from 107.69 yen late Monday. The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.1228%  rose to $1.0919 from $1.0898.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
22,945.50
+358.49 +1.59%
Volume: 0.00
July 15, 2020 3:15p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
6,052.90
+111.80 +1.88%
Volume: 651,034
July 15, 2020 4:26p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,203.59
+19.98 +0.91%
Volume: 795,158
July 15, 2020 3:20p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
25,479.95
+2.06 +0.0081%
Volume: 1.23M
July 15, 2020 2:34p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
10,488.58
+97.73 +0.94%
Volume: 3.86M
July 14, 2020 5:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
5,007.46
-48.77 -0.96%
Volume: 83,503
July 14, 2020 6:05p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed
DAX
DX : Xetra Indices
12,697.36
-102.61 -0.80%
Volume: 76,739
July 14, 2020 6:30p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 40.47
+0.18 +0.45%
Volume: 23,914
July 15, 2020 2:39a
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
107.1770
-0.0570 -0.0532%
Volume: 0.0000
July 15, 2020 2:49a
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
1.1415
+0.0014 +0.1228%
Volume: 0.0000
July 15, 2020 2:49a
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Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Follow her on Twitter @bkollmeyer.

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