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Asian Shares Rise After Wall Street Surge

stockmarkets aug17 20mar20 lt

Asian stocks followed their U.S. peers higher on Friday as massive relief packages announced by global central banks and governments helped to ease fears of a global recession.

The Japanese markets were closed for the Vernal Equinox holiday. China's Shanghai Composite index rallied 43.49 points, or 1.61 percent, to 2,745.62 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index surged as much as 5.05 percent to 22,805.07.

China reported no new domestic coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day, but there were 39 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland, all of which were imported.

China left its benchmark lending rates unchanged today, defying expectations for a reduction as economic activity faces severe downturn after the outbreak of covid-19.

The one-year loan prime rate was retained at 4.05 percent and the five-year loan prime rate at 4.75 percent. The one-year LPR was last reduced in February, by 10 basis points.

Australian markets rebounded from four-year lows after the world's largest central banks stepped up their emergency efforts to support financial markets and the economy.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 ended up 33.70 points, or 0.70 percent, at 4,816.60 after rising as much as 5 percent earlier in the day. The broader All Ordinaries index rose 44.90 points, or 0.93 percent, to 4,854.30, with beaten-down bank and energy stocks pacing the gainers.

Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac surged 7- percent, while Commonwealth declined 1.7 percent. Santos gained 11 percent and Oil Search jumped over 15 percent after crude oil prices skyrocketed overnight.

Contractor CIMIC Group surged as much as 51 percent after falling over 31 percent in the previous session on news HOCHTIEF Australia had increased its stake in the company to over 74 per cent. Afterpay Touch climbed 25.7 percent after recent steep losses and Xero

Telstra slumped 6.1 percent. The telecom giant said it will freeze its job cutting program for six months, suspend late payment fees and disconnections, and hire 1,000 temporary staff to help offset the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Seoul stocks rebounded sharply after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it signed currency swap agreements with nine central banks around the globe, including the Bank of Korea, to relive the liquidity crunch caused by the global spread of the new coronavirus.

The benchmark Kospi soared 108.51 points, or 7.44 percent, to 1,566.17, snapping a freefall of seven consecutive sessions despite continued selling by foreign investors. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics soared 5.7 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix added 8.4 percent.

Air carriers rebounded after heavy losses in the previous session. Korean Air soared 12.1 percent and Asiana Airlines advanced 20.5 percent.

New Zealand shares seesawed before ending sharply higher for the day despite the government announcing 11 new cases of Covid-19 coronavirus, taking the total to 39 in the country. The benchmark NZX-50 index climbed 81.89 points, or 0.90 percent, to 9,196.42. Air New Zealand shares plunged nearly 36 percent after coming off a trading halt.

U.S. stocks posted solid gains overnight after governments and central banks around the world moved aggressively to try to buffer the global economy from fallout stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

Bank of England's surprise rate cut and European Central Bank's announcement of an emergency bond purchase scheme also offered some support.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.3 percent and the S&P 500 added half a percent.

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