Asian Shares Gain On U.S. Stimulus Optimism

Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Wednesday after the White House and Democratic Party negotiators said they are willing to continue their discussions over U.S. stimulus measures.

Sentiment was also bolstered after a Reuters report said that AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine trial in the United States is expected to resume as early as this week.

Chinese shares finished marginally lower as the yuan touched a two-year high on signs of robust economic recovery and expectations of a victory for U.S. Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden next month. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.8 percent to 24,754.42.

Japanese shares eked out modest gains ahead of the first-half reporting season and the start of an extraordinary session of parliament next week.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 72.42 points, or 0.3 percent, to 23,639.46 on hopes of an earnings recovery, while the broader Topix closed 0.7 percent higher at 1,637.60.

Rohm surged 4.8 percent after the electronics components maker upgraded its earnings estimate. Similarly, biotechnology company Takara Bio soared 5.4 percent after forecasting robust earnings. Exporters Honda Motor, Panasonic, Canon and Nissan surged 2-5 percent.

Australian markets ended slightly higher on hopes that U.S. lawmakers could reach a stimulus compromise by the end of the week. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index inched up 7.20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,191.80, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 6.30 points at 6,403.10.

The big four banks rose between 0.8 percent and 1.6 percent, while mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto advanced 0.6 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Santos climbed 2 percent and Oil Search rallied 3.5 percent after crude oil prices rebounded from recent lows.

Orora surged 8 percent after the packaging firm provided an upbeat trading outlook for its North American business. Rare-earths producer Lynas Corp jumped 4.2 percent after it posted an 8.1 percent rise in first-quarter neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) output.

Seoul stocks rose for the third straight session on growing optimism that U.S. lawmakers are nearing a deal on a stimulus package. The benchmark Kospi gained 12.45 points, or 0.5 percent, to finish at 2,370.86.

Internet portal giant Naver rose 2.6 percent, while chipmaker SK Hynix lost 1.6 percent and automaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.2 percent.

New Zealand shares gave up early gains to end modestly lower for the day. The benchmark NZX-50 Index dropped 29.44 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,432.61.

U.S. stocks rose overnight as Procter & Gamble (PG) and Travelers (TRV) posted encouraging earnings and biotech firm Moderna (MRNA) said it is expecting interim results of its coronavirus vaccine trials in November.

Investors also pinned hopes on additional fiscal aid as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi downplayed the importance of an end-of-Tuesday deadline she had set to strike an agreement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 added half a percent.

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