Asian Markets Rise On Optimism Over Slowing Virus Spread



Asian stocks rose broadly on Monday after the reported death tolls in some of the world's coronavirus hot spots showed signs of easing over the weekend.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned the country could be headed into its "toughest" weeks, but expressed hope the country was seeing a "levelling off" of the virus crisis.

The markets in China and Thailand were closed for the Qingming Festival and Chakri Day, respectively. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 2.21 percent to 23,749.12 despite China reporting a surge in imported and asymptomatic coronavirus cases.

China has reported 39 new coronavirus cases, up from 30 a day earlier, while the number of new asymptomatic cases rose to 78 as of the end of the day on Sunday, compared with 47 the day before.

Japanese markets rallied and the yen dropped along with Treasuries as investors reacted positively to reports suggesting a slowing daily death toll from coronavirus in Europe.

Elsewhere, New York State also reported its first decline in the number of daily coronavirus-related deaths as well as hospitalizations on Sunday.

The Nikkei average jumped 756.11 points, or 4.24 percent, to 18,576.30, while the broader Topix index closed 3.86 percent higher at 1,376.30.

Market heavyweight SoftBank soared 7.6 percent, automaker Toyota Motor surged 6.2 percent and Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing rallied 2.2 percent. In the tech space, Advantest jumped 6.2 percent and Tokyo Electron added 6.7 percent.

Investors shrugged off reports indicating that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to declare a state of emergency in the country following a surge in the number of infections in Tokyo and other major cities.

Australian markets soared, with miners and financials leading the surge on optimism about the slowing spread of the coronavirus in New York and Australia.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 219.30 points, or 4.33 percent, to 5,286.80, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 216.70 points, or 4.24 percent, at 5,323.60.

The big four banks climbed 4-5 percent while mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto surged 4.8 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Gold miners Evolution Mining and Newcrest rose around 4 percent.

Energy stocks rose for the sixth consecutive session, with Woodside Petroleum surging 6.4 percent and Santos adding 8.5 percent.

Caltex Australia advanced 6.6 percent. The fuel retailer said it would extend the planned shutdown of Lytton oil refinery to ward off an expected hit to refining due to the pressure on demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Seoul stocks rose sharply to extend gains for a third straight session as investors cheered positive news about the use of Gilead Sciences' remde sivir against Covid-19 that has infected more than 1.2 million people around the world. The Kospi average climbed 66.44 points, or 3.85 percent, to 1,791.88.

New Zealand shares bucked the regional trend to end lower. The benchmark NZX 50 index dropped 171.36 points, or 1.72 percent, to 9,763.82. Exporter Fisher & Paykel Healthcare tumbled 3.8 percent as the kiwi dollar bounced back.

U.S. stocks fell sharply on Friday after data showed the country lost as much as 701,000 jobs in March, marking the first decline in job creation in a decade. The jobless rate surged up to 4.4 percent from 3.5 percent in February.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1.7 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 declined around 1.5 percent each. 

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