Asia shares set for early gains as focus swings to recovery


stocks currencies COVID-19 ECB
21 May, 2020 11:17 am

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Asian shares were poised to open higher on Thursday after global equities and crude prices rallied overnight on hopes of a rapid economic recovery and government support.

Hong Kong futures HSIc1 edged higher. Nikkei futures NKc1 were trading above the Nikkei 225 index’s .N225 previous close. Australian shares were also set to rise.

Global equities have received a boost this week as governments around the world gradually loosened their coronavirus lockdown restrictions, raising investor hopes the economic impact of the pandemic would be short-lived.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS broke out of a three-week trading range overnight, and oil prices LCOc1 rallied as U.S. data showed declining inventories and firming demand.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 1.52%, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 1.67%, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 2.08%.

“A solid night for risk, with equities working, crude and copper pushing higher and again that should spill over into Asia trade,” Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne-based brokerage Pepperstone, said in a note.

Copper prices hit a two-month high ahead of a Chinese government meeting this week that is expected to boost demand with pledges of higher spending on infrastructure.

Minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s April meeting released on Wednesday showed policymakers affirmed a pledge to keep interest rates near zero until they are confident the economy is on track to recovery.

The euro EUR= opened higher as the U.S. dollar sank against major currencies. The common currency was buoyed by a proposal for a common fund that could move Europe closer to a fiscal union as it tries to counter the hit from the coronavirus pandemic

Gold prices XAU= were slightly lower, under pressure from increased risk appetite, which lifted equities. Earlier, bullion was boosted by doubts about the development of a coronavirus vaccine and a wave of government stimulus.

The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations have begun emerging from lockdown.


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