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Asian Shares Follow Wall Street Higher On Vaccine Hopes

stockmarkets jan23 19may20 lt

Asian stocks rose on Tuesday as investors cheered "positive" phase one results for a potential coronavirus vaccine and hoped that the reopening of business across the world will aid an economic recovery.

Chinese shares rose after data from Moderna Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the United States, showed it produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index climbed 23.16 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,898.58, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up 453.36 points, or 1.9 percent, to 24,388.13.

Japanese shares hit a 2-1/2 month high on hopes for a swift return to normal as some facilities begin reopening from the coronavirus crisis. Encouraging early-stage data for a potential coronavirus vaccine also bolstered sentiment.

The Nikkei 225 Index rallied 299.72 points, or 1.5 percent, to 20,433.45, its highest closing since March 6. The broader Topix closed 1.8 percent higher at 1,486.05.

Highly cyclical iron and steel, sea transport and insurance stocks were among the top performers. Panasonic Corp. shares surged 7 percent after the company said it was seeing strong demand for battery cells from U.S. partner Tesla Inc.

Banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose over 4 percent each.

Sony Corp. advanced 3.3 percent and its financial arm Sony Financial Holdings soared 16.9 percent on a Nikkei report that Sony will turn Sony Financial into a wholly-owned unit through a tender offer worth about 400 billion yen ($3.7 billion).

Investors shrugged off weak data showing that Japanese industrial production declined in March as initially estimated. Industrial production fell a seasonally adjusted 3.7 percent month-on-month in March. On a yearly basis, industrial production declined 5.2 percent in March, as estimated.

Australian markets reached their highest level in over two months on news of a potential vaccine for the coronavirus and hopes for a U.S. economic recovery in the second half of the year.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 99.00 points, or 1.8 percent, to 5,559.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 101.30 points, or 1.8 percent, at 5,658.80.

Energy companies such as Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Beach Energy and Oil Search soared 4-7 percent as crude prices surged to two-month highs on growing signs of a rebound in oil demand.

Miners BHP, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto jumped 5-6 percent amid indications that China's iron ore port inventories are gradually eroding.

The big four banks rose 1-2 percent after minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's May 5 meeting revealed that the board would maintain its efforts to support the economy by keeping funding costs low and credit available to households and businesses.

Tabcorp Holdings advanced 2.5 percent. The betting and gaming giant said it has arranged more financing with banks to boost liquidity.

Seoul stocks rose sharply on growing hopes of a COVID-19 vaccine. The benchmark Kospi spiked 43.50 points, or 2.3 percent, to close at 1,980.61, extending its winning streak to a third day.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics climbed 3.1 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix gained 2 percent, while automakers Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors soared around 8 percent.

New Zealand shares hit their highest level in nearly ten weeks before paring some gains. The benchmark NZX-50 Index ended up 32.20 points, or 0.30 percent, at 10,790.14, led by dual-listed lenders.

NZME shares tumbled 2 percent as the media firm withdrew its application to the country's Commerce Commission to allow it to buy major competitor Stuff.

U.S. stocks soared overnight after Moderna reported "positive" phase one results from the first human study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 3.9 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 2.4 percent and the S&P 500 jumped 3.2 percent.

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