Asian stocks ended broadly higher on Monday after AstraZeneca said it would increase its coronavirus vaccine deliveries to the EU by 30 percent, helping ease worries about a slow recovery caused by unexpected issues with the vaccine rollouts.
Chinese shares rose after the country’s central bank injected more cash into money markets. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 22.21 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,505.28, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged up 609.15 points, or 2.2 percent, to 28,892.86.
On the economic front, two surveys showed China’s manufacturing growth weakened in January as restrictions took a toll in some regions.
Japanese shares ended higher after two straight days of losses on fears about further market turbulences in the United States. The Nikkei 225 Index rallied 427.66 points, or 1.6 percent, to 28,091.05 on the back of upbeat earnings forecasts. The broader Topix closed 1.2 percent higher at 1,829.84.
NEC Corp. surged 12.8 percent after the information technology company reported a 5.7 percent rise in its nine-month operating profit. Toilet maker Toto soared 12.4 percent after raising its profit outlook. Beaten-down chip-related shares such as Advantest, Nidec and Keyence climbed 2-3 percent.
Investors shrugged off the latest survey from Jibun Bank showing that the manufacturing sector in Japan fell into contraction in January with a PMI score of 49.8, down from 50 in December.
Australian markets hit two-month lows before reversing direction to end notably higher for the day as the latest manufacturing and housing data painted a positive picture of the economy.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 55.60 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,663.00, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 51.90 points, or 0.8percent, at 6,922.80.
Banks ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB rose between 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent while energy majors eked out modest gains.
Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto gained 1.3 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. Silver miner Argent Minerals soared 59.7 percent after futures contracts for silver surged to a six-month high amid indications of retail investor interest in the metal.
Seoul markets rallied, led by pharmaceutical stocks. The benchmark Kospi jumped 80.32 points, or 2.7 percent, to 3,056.53 as foreign and institutional investors became net buyers after a four-day selling streak.
Celltrion spiked 14.5 percent after reports that its drug Remsima SC for the treatment of autoimmune diseases won sales approval in Canada. Samsung Biologics advanced 2.5 percent.
The manufacturing sector in South Korea expanded at a faster pace in January, the latest survey from Markit Economics revealed today, with a seasonally adjusted PMI score of 53.2, up from 52.9 in December. Trade data for January came in roughly in line with expectations.
New Zealand shares ended off their day’s lows, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index closing down 30.04 points, or 0.2 percent, at 13,097.25, dragged down by financials and utilities.
U.S. stocks tumbled on Friday as extreme volatility in a batch of small, heavily shorted companies such as GameStop, AMC Entertainment and Blackberry raised broader concerns about a bubble in a market.
Investor sentiment was also dented by news that Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) one-dose coronavirus vaccine appears to be less potent against variants.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2 percent and the S&P 500 shed 1.9 percent to book their worst month of losses since October, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gave up 2 percent.
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