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Asia stocks rise after Wall Street drifts around records

Wall Street

Hang Seng advanced 0.5% to 19,648.19, Shanghai Composite index added 0.3% to 3,162.08, Nikkei 225 index soared 1.4% to 39,346.92, S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6% to 7,862.70, Kospi gained 0.6% to 2,741.55, Taiex rose 0.1% higher, while SET was 0.3% higher

Asian stocks rose Monday after U.S. stock indexes drifted around their records on Friday with the Dow Jones closing above 40,000 for the first time.

U.S. futures gained, and oil prices jumped as investors focused on the developments in the Middle East.

China’s market extended last week’s gains after the central bank announced new support for the property industry, including cutting required down payments for housing loans, cutting mortgage interest rates for first and second home purchases and removing a mortgage rate floor.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.5% to 19,648.19, with its property index 0.6% higher by midday. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.3% to 3,162.08.

On Monday, China’s central bank left the one- and five-year loan prime rate unchanged at 3.45% and 3.95%, in line with expectations. The one-year LPR serves as the benchmark for most new and outstanding loans in China, while the five-year rate affects the pricing of property mortgages.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index soared 1.4% to 39,346.92. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6% to 7,862.70. The Kospi in Korea gained 0.6% to 2,741.55.

Elsewhere, Taiwan’s Taiex rose 0.1% after Lai Ching-te became Taiwan’s new president. Lai is expected to uphold the island’s de facto independence policy from China.

In Bangkok, the SET was 0.3% higher.

The S&P 500, which is the much more important index for Wall Street and most retirement savers, gained 0.1% to 5,303.27. It closed just 0.1% short of its record set on Wednesday and closed out a fourth consecutive week of gains. The Nasdaq composite slid 0.1% to 16,685.97.

Elsewhere in financial markets, Treasury yields rose.

A report last week rekindled hopes that inflation is finally heading back in the right direction after a discouraging start to the year. That in turn revived hopes for the Fed to cut its main interest rate at least once this year.

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