Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Tuesday as investors remained hopeful that the United States would soon pass a coronavirus relief package.
Traders also digested upbeat trade data from China and news that Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine study has been paused due to an unexplained illness in a participant.
Chinese shares recovered from an early slide to finish marginally higher after data showed the country’s trade surplus unexpectedly narrowed in September. Trading in Hong Kong was suspended due to Typhoon Nangka.
China’s exports continued to expand as global industrial operations resumed gradually, while imports rebounded in September, driven by robust domestic demand, official data revealed.
Data from the General Administration of Customs showed that exports grew 9.9 percent year-on-year, faster than the 9.5 percent increase seen in August but slightly slower than economists’ forecast of 10 percent growth.
At the same time, imports advanced 13.2 percent in September, in contrast to a 2.1 percent decline a month ago. Imports were forecast to rise marginally by 0.3 percent.
Consequently, the trade balance showed a surplus of $37 billion compared to the expected level of $58 billion. The surplus totaled around $58.9 billion in August.
Japanese shares rose as Apple’s suppliers gained ground ahead of the latest iPhone launch later today. Sentiment was also bolstered after the Nikkei newspaper reported that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will order his government to compile extra economic stimulus measures as early as November.
The Nikkei 225 Index edged up 43.09 points, or 0.2 percent, to 23,601.78, while the broader Topix closed 0.4 percent higher at 1,649.10.
Taiyo Yuden and Murata Manufacturing surged around 4 percent each on the back of a renewed tech rally on Wall Street overnight. TDK Corporation advanced 1.8 percent. J.Front Retailing rose 1.1 percent and Takashimaya rallied 1.9 percent ahead of their earnings results.
Australian markets rose sharply to hit a nearly two-month high despite China’s ban on Australian thermal and coking coal imports.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 63.70 points, or 1 percent, to 6,195.70, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 57.10 points, or 0.9 percent, at 6,400.20.
The big four banks rose 1-3 percent, while buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay surged 2.7 percent in the tech sector. Real estate developer Unibail Rodamco jumped 7.5 percent after it entered into an agreement to sell an office building for 620 million euros ($732.41 million).
On the flip side, coal miner New Hope Corp. slumped 7.3 percent after reports that ports in China are being told not to off load Australian coal.
Seoul stocks fluctuated before finishing marginally lower for the day, snapping an eight-session winning streak on concerns that a resurgence of the coronavirus may inflict more damage on the economy.
The benchmark Kospi ended little changed with a negative bias at 2,403.15 as the country reported 102 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Monday, marking the first triple-digit increase in six days.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.8 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix added 3.2 percent, while chemical maker LG Chem gave up 4.2 percent.
New Zealand shares rose for the tenth day running, with financials and property stocks leading the surge amid record low interest rates and signs of improved recovery momentum. The benchmark NZX 50 Index ended up 96.96 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,453.85.
Ebos Group rallied 2.4 percent after the Australasian distributor of healthcare products reported first quarter earnings that exceeded expectations.
In economic news, a government report showed that the total value of electronic retail card spending in New Zealand rose 5.4 percent sequentially in September following the 7.9 percent contraction in August.
U.S. stocks rose sharply overnight as investors became more confident of a larger stimulus deal down the road.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 rallied 1.6 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.6 percent ahead of Apple’s new iPhone launch event.
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