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Asia stock markets climb on economic recovery hopes

economic recovery

Markets followed Wall Street higher last week after unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs data despite record new coronavirus infections across the US

Asian stock markets rose Monday as investors looked ahead for data they hope will support optimism about a global economic recovery.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +1.82% rose 1.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, 3.81% gained 3%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +5.71% surged 4.2% and South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +1.65% advanced 1.7%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +1.74%, Singapore STI, 1.46% and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.30% gained, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.71% inched up 0.2%.

Markets followed Wall Street higher last week after unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs data despite some American states reporting record new coronavirus infections. U.S. markets were closed Friday for a holiday.

The battle between the Covid-19 drag and improving economic conditions continues, said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.

This week, investors are looking ahead to interest rate decisions in Australia and Malaysia. The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to keep its benchmark rate at a record low of 0.25% while forecasters expect another cut from Bank Negara Malaysia.

Markets also are watching an election in Singapore and possible unrest in Hong Kong over a security law.

Share prices have risen as some countries ease anti-virus measures and reopened businesses, but forecasters warn the surge might be too early to be sustained by uncertain economic conditions.

Whether the rally can be sustained “is hugely dependent on how markets react if improving data stabilizes or goes into reverse,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp in a report.

On Wall Street on Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 index SPX, +0.45% ended a shortened four-day trading week up 4%. The Nasdaq composite COMP, climbed 0.5% to a new record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.35% gained 0.4%.

That is despite a surge in new cases in the populous U.S. states of Florida, Texas and California. That has prompted some governors to halt reopening of businesses or to order others to re-close.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude CLQ20, 0.71% lost 24 cents to $40.41 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude BRNU20, 1.78%, used to price international oils, gained 17 cents in London to $42.98 per barrel.

The dollar USDJPY, 0.09% gained to 107.68 yen from Friday’s 107.52.

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