Picture used for illustration. File
Asian stock markets rose Monday as investors shrugged off rising coronavirus cases in the United States and some other countries.
Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia advanced.
Markets rose last week after unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs data despite some American states reporting record new coronavirus infections.
"Asia has shrugged off the COVID-19 clouds that dominated the weekend press,” said Jeffrey Halley of OANDA in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 4.8% to 3,302.59 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 1.8% to 22,716.17. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 3.5% to 26,245.10.
The Kospi in Seoul rose 1.6% to 2,186.45 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.3% to 6,040.40. India’s Sensex opened up 1.1% at 36,418.98 and New Zealand, Singapore and Jakarta also gained.
This week, investors are looking ahead to interest rate decisions in Australia and Malaysia. The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to keep its benchmark rate at a record low of 0.25% while forecasters expect another cut from Bank Negara Malaysia.
Markets also are watching an election in Singapore and possible unrest in Hong Kong over a security law.
Share prices have risen as some countries ease anti-virus measures and reopened businesses, but forecasters warn the surge might be too early to be sustained by uncertain economic conditions.
Whether the rally can be sustained "is hugely dependent on how markets react if improving data stabilizes or goes into reverse,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp in a report.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index ended a shortened four-day trading week up 4%.
The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.5% to a new record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4%.
That is despite a surge in new cases in the populous U.S. states of Florida, Texas and California. That has prompted some governors to halt reopening of businesses or to order others to re-close.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 16 cents to $40.49 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 28 cents in London to $43.08 per barrel.
The dollar gained to 107.69 yen from Friday’s 107.52. The euro gained to $1.1290 from $1.1243.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.3% and further away from a four-month top hit last week. Japan's Nikkei shed 2.2% and Chinese blue chips 0.9%.
All major Asian indexes were upbeat with Japan's Nikkei rising 0.1%, China's blue-chip index adding 1.7% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 1.8%.
The U.S. currency gained more than 0.2% against a basket of currencies, as risk sentiment soured in early trading in Europe.
Global shares stumbled on Friday as hopes of a fiscal boost from a $1.9 trillion US stimulus plan were smothered by the prospect of stricter lockdowns in France and Germany and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China.
The Italian government has approved a new stimulus package worth 32 billion euros ($38.8 billion) to prop up the battered economy, pushing this year’s budget deficit significantly higher than previously planned.
Pakistan and Bangladesh are rationing gas and buyers across South Asia are seeking alternative fuels after spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices surged to record highs, government and industry officials told Reuters.