Asian Shares Rise Despite Stimulus Uncertainty

Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Wednesday despite U.S. President Donald Trump ending negotiations with Democrats over additional Covid-19 stimulus.

Markets in China were closed for the National Day holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 262.21 points, or 1.09 percent, to 24,242.86. The private sector in Hong Kong continued to contract in September, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from IHS Markit showed today with a PMI score of 47.7, up from 44.0.

Japanese shares ended on a flat note after Trump halted talks for an additional stimulus package, raising fears of a slower economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis. The Nikkei average finished marginally lower at 23,422.82, while the broader Topix index closed with a positive bias at 1,646.47.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shed 0.7 percent after Boeing slashed its forecast for new aircraft demand. Yakult Honsha Co slumped 7.1 percent after French food group Danone said it would sell its remaining 6.6 percent stake in the Japanese probiotic yogurt maker.

Australian markets rallied after the federal government unveiled fresh fiscal stimulus measures, pushing the budget deficit to a record level to lift the economy out of recession.

“There is no economic recovery without a jobs recovery,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told lawmakers. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 climbed 74.30 points, or 1.25 percent, to 6,036.40, pushing the index to its highest level since September 3. The broader All Ordinaries index ended up 75.40 points, or 1.22 percent, at 6,239.60.

The big four banks rose between 2 percent and 2.6 percent on expectations that the “market friendly” budget would fuel the economic recovery.

Buy now pay later firm Afterpay gained 1.6 percent amid the prospect of increased discretionary spending. Retailer Coles Group rose 1.4 percent, Woolworths added 2 percent and Metcash jumped 3.3 percent.

Seoul stocks extended gains for the sixth day running as Trump called off talks with Democrats on a second stimulus package, but later urged Congress to “immediately approve” $25 billion in airline payroll support and $135 billion in funding for the paycheck protection program through unused funds in the CARES Act.

The benchmark Kospi inched up 21.04 points, or 0.89 percent, to 2,386.94. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics advanced 1.5 percent and pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 1.3 percent.

New Zealand shares closed higher, with the benchmark NZX-50 index rising 41.13 points, or 0.34 percent, to 12,016.15, led by energy stocks. Meridian surged 4.4 percent and Genesis Energy advanced 1.7 percent on expectations for lower interest rates.

U.S. stocks fell sharply overnight after President Trump tweeted that he would end negotiations on a new fiscal stimulus package until after the Nov.3 presidential election, adding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith.”

Markets also fell in response to Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments that the U.S. economic recovery remained far from complete and the economy needs more fiscal support.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 1.6 percent and the S&P 500 declined 1.4 percent.

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