Asian stocks mostly up after the Wall Street rally

TOKYO – Asian stocks were mostly higher on Tuesday despite concerns over the rising number of coronavirus cases in the region.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8% to 29,301.79 on the first day of trading in Tokyo in 2022. Shares also rose in Australia and South Korea, but fell slightly in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Toyota Motor Corp. gained 6.1%, while Sony Corp. increased 3.1%.

Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki and other dignitaries rang a bell on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to announce the opening of trade. At the Osaka Small Stock Exchange in western Japan, women carried on the tradition of attending the opening ceremony of the year in colorful kimono.

Ailing Chinese developer Evergrande has announced that it has been ordered to demolish a 39-building complex in the southern province of Hainan. Shares of the company were suspended from trading on Monday but resumed on Tuesday, gaining 1.9%.

Evergrande is grappling with $ 310 billion in debt and the order to demolish the complex has been another blow to its finances.

Evergrande Group gave no explanation, but reports indicated that the government in Danzhou, a city in the southern island province of Hainan, discovered that it was poorly built and violated the town planning law.

Stricter official restrictions on the use of borrowed money by the Chinese real estate industry have raised fears of possible defaults and a financial crisis. Chinese regulators have tried to reassure investors that any potential impact on financial markets can be contained.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng was stable at 23,270.45. The Shanghai Composite Index edged down 0.2% to 3,632.33.

The Australian S & P / ASX 200 jumped nearly 2.0% to 7,589.80. South Korean Kospi gained less than a point to 2,989.24.

Asia has had fewer coronavirus infections and deaths than the United States and parts of Europe. But concerns are growing about an inevitable increase with reported detections of faster spreading omicron.

“While sentiment may try to take advantage of Wall Street optimism, market participants have generally been more cautious in taking more risk in the region,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

Wall Street got off to a good start in 2022 with more records for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 4,796.56 and the Dow ended up 0.7% to 36,585.06. Both indices eclipsed the records they set last Wednesday. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.2% to 15,832.80.

Small business shares also rose. The Russell 2000 gained 1.2% to 2,272.56.

The market’s strong start to 2022 follows another record year for stocks on Wall Street. The S&P 500 closed 2021 with a gain of 26.9%, or a total return of 28.7%, including dividends. This is almost as much as the benchmark gained in 2019.

Latest S&P 500 milestones, following 70 records set last year, a sign investors remain bullish on stocks, despite recent spike in COVID-19 cases due to the rapidly spreading omicron variant of the virus and expectations that the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates this year to fight rising inflation.

Investors have several key pieces of economic data to look forward to in the first week of the new year, including the Labor Department’s employment report on Friday. The Institute for Supply Management will give investors an update on the manufacturing sector on Tuesday and the service sector on Thursday.

In energy trading, benchmark US crude fell 27 cents to $ 75.81 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 87 cents to $ 76.08 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 27 cents to $ 78.71 a barrel.

In currency trading, the US dollar rose from 115.31 yen to 115.75 Japanese yen. The euro cost $ 1.1292, compared to $ 1.1296.

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