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Asia stock markets rise after strong gains on Wall Street

stock markets rise

Tokyo, Singapore, Taipei and Jakarta saw gains while Seoul edged higher

Asia markets rose on Tuesday after strong gains on Wall Street as investors bet a surge in Covid-19 cases due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant will not derail the economic recovery.

The highly mutated strain has fuelled a massive increase in cases across the globe, with countries reviving lockdowns, thousands of flights cancelled and cruise ships returning to port with Covid-infected passengers.

There is, however, a ‘belief that Omicron is going to be a nuisance but not a dire strait for the global economy — at least not for long,’ said analyst Patrick O’Hare.

Wall Street enjoyed strong gains, with the S&P 500 gaining 1.4 percent to a second straight record on Monday while the Dow and Nasdaq added at least one percent.

It was the start of a historically strong seven-day post-Christmas stretch known on trading floors as the ‘Santa Claus rally,’ a period of low trading volumes and light news flow that usually sees stocks drift higher.

The optimism carried over to Asia, with Tokyo rising 1.0 percent by the break Tuesday. Singapore, Taipei and Jakarta saw gains while Seoul edged higher. Sydney and New Zealand were still closed for the holiday break.

Today’s shares are expected to stay strong after a rebound. US stocks are trading higher in the midst of a Santa Claus rally, and risk-on trends are likely to spread to Japanese stocks, Okasan Online Securities said.

Shanghai was down 0.1 percent while Hong Kong was flat in a see-saw session as Macau casino stocks dropped sharply after the gaming enclave reported its first Omicron case.

Oil futures gained in Asia, with benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) trading above $75 and Brent heading towards $79 a barrel.

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