REUTERS - Asian stock markets rose yesterday as the combination of a rebound in crude prices from historic lows and the promise of more U.S. government aid to cushion the coronavirus-ravaged economy helped calm nervous markets.
Better-than-expected U.S. corporate earnings also lifted equities, analysts said, though overall sentiment remained fragile as the pandemic cut a destructive path through the world economy.
E-mini futures for the S&P 500 climbed 0.25 percent after staying mostly flat during Asian hours while London’s FTSE futures were mostly unchanged. European stock futures nudged up with the Eurostoxx 50 up 0.3 percent and Germany’s DAX futures rising
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside of Japan bounced from two-week lows to be up 0.6 percent at 460.43 points.
Australian S&P/ASX reversed early gains to close 0.1 percent lower, led by losses in the healthcare sector. Chinese shares also gave up gains with the blue-chip index down 0.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei climbed 1.5 percent.
South Korea’s KOSPI index rose 1.09 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added
The gains followed a strong overnight lead from Wall Street with the Dow up 2 percent, S&P 500 adding 2.3 percent and Nasdaq rising
All 11 S&P 500 sector indexes climbed as the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the new relief package, adding to trillions of dollars in stimulus that has helped Wall Street rebound from its March lows.
Stock markets may have bottomed out after the impressive bounce since a rout last month, analysts said.
Even so, the recent recovery has been narrowly focused on the big tech firms, said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal
Four out of every five stocks are still in a bear market while European benchmark equity indices and the U.S. small-cap index are also in bear territory, “throwing severe doubts on the impression that investors are optimistic about the outlook,” she added.
However, Shah believes market positioning may now work to propel markets higher, helped by solid policy stimulus around the world.
“Investors have built up meaningful cash positions suggesting that, not only is indiscriminate selling behind us, but investors have sufficient dry powder to take advantage of attractively valued risk assets.”
In Europe, traders were buoyed after Italy breezed through a major debt sale on Tuesday and speculation continued that the European Central Bank would provide more
Still, it may take European Union countries until the summer if not longer to agree on how to finance aid to help economies recover from the pandemic as major disagreements persist, a bloc official said on Wednesday.