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Asian Stocks Up Over Biden Promise of “Trillions” in COVID-19 Stimulus Measures

Stock MarketsJan 10, 2021 10:44PM ET
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By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly up on Monday morning, with investor sentiment boosted by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s promise of more stimulus measures to counter the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus.

U.S. shares rose to record levels on Friday after Biden said that he would lay out proposals for trillions of dollars in fiscal support in the coming week to fight the economic toll of surging COVID-19 cases. The number of global COVID-19 cases continues to rise, surpassing 90.2 million as of Jan. 11 according to Johns Hopkins University data. Of these, over 22 million cases are U.S. cases.

The prospect of more stimulus saw equity gauges and Treasury yields climb over expectations of eventual control of the COVID-19 virus, aided by vaccines rollouts, and a global economic recovery. Although the stretched stock valuations have been tolerated by investors so far, there were worries that the global shares could be running too hot.

“After being bullish for several months, we are definitely becoming more cautious on the stock market up at these levels,” Miller Tabak + Co. chief market strategist Matt Maley said in a note, which added that the bulk of the S&P 500 rally from March lows is “behind us.”

Although the results of the runoff elections in the state of Georgia gives the Democrats control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, it remains to be seen whether more ambitious measures, such as raining the amount of stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, can be passed by a Senate split 50-50 with the Republicans.

China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.23% by 10:35 PM ET (3:35AM GMT), while the SZSE Component was up 0.41%. China’s producer price index (PPI) contracted 0.4% year-on-year in December, higher than the -0.8% in forecasts prepared by and November’s -1.5% reading, data released earlier in the day showed. December’s consumer price index (CPI) also beat expectations, rising 0.7% month-on-month and 0.2% year-on-year, according to the data

However, tensions with the U.S. rose after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that the U.S. will remove self-imposed restrictions on diplomatic interactions with Taiwan, which is claimed by China as its territory.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.87% and South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.49%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 0.88%.

Japanese markets are closed for a holiday. However, a COVID-19 variant similar to the strains seen in the U.K. and South Africa has been found in passengers arriving in the country from Brazil. It is presently difficult to ascertain how infectious this latest strain is and how effective current vaccines are against it.

Meanwhile, investors are keeping an eye on plans for a vote later in the day urging Vice President Mike Pence to take steps to remove incumbent President Donald Trump from office. House of Representatives Democrats are leading calls to impeach Trump for inciting his supporters to storm Capitol Hill during the previous week.

On the data front, the U.S. will release its own CPI on Wednesday, with the PPI and retail sales figures due to be released on Friday.

Asian Stocks Up Over Biden Promise of “Trillions” in COVID-19 Stimulus Measures

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