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Asian Shares Follow Wall Street Higher

stockmarkets aug20 04aug20 lt

Asian stocks rose broadly on Tuesday after Wall Street's main indexes rose overnight on data showing a bigger than expected acceleration in the pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing activity in July and Microsoft's statement confirming that it is talks to purchase the U.S. operations of Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok.

Investors shrugged off surging coronavirus cases in dozens of countries, with the World Health Organization warning that there might never be a "silver bullet" for the new coronavirus, despite the rush to discover effective vaccines.

Chinese shares edged up slightly, with banks rising after the People's Bank of China said it would extend the grace period for implementation of sweeping asset management rules to the end of 2021.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index inched up 3.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,371.69, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index spiked 488.50 points, or 2 percent, to 24,946.63.

Japanese shares extended gains from the previous session as a weaker yen helped lift exporters' stocks. The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 378.28 points, or 1.7 percent, to 22,573.66, while the broader Topix closed 2.1 percent higher at 1,555.26.

Exporters Canon, Toyota Motor, Sony and Honda Motor surged 3-6 percent. Retail group Seven & I Holdings, owner of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, soared 8.9 percent after the company announced a deal to buy Speedway gas stations in the U.S. from Marathon Petroleum for $21 billion.

Z Holdings tumbled 3.2 percent. The owner of Yahoo Japan and messaging app provider Line Corp. said they have decided to postpone their merger to March 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

On the data front, official data showed that overall consumer prices in the Tokyo region were up 0.6 percent year-on-year in July. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.4 percent and was up from 0.3 percent in June.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, advanced an annual 0.4 percent - again exceeding expectations for 0.2 percent, which would have been unchanged.

Australian shares rose the most in two weeks as the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its monetary policy steady and said, "The downturn is not as severe as earlier expected and a recovery is now underway in most of Australia."

Investors ignored domestic data showing that retails sales volumes suffered their biggest plunge in two decades in the second quarter.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 111.50 points, or 1.9 percent, to 6,037.60, while the broader All Ordinaries Index rallied 112.60 points, or 1.9 percent, to 6,166.50.

Financials, energy and technology companies paced the gainers. The big four banks rose between 1.2 percent and 2.3 percent, while Santos advanced 4.7 percent and Afterpay surged 6.5 percent.

Seoul stocks ended at a nearly two-year high, with strong U.S. manufacturing data and hopes of fresh stimulus helping underpin investor sentiment.

The top Democrats in the U.S. Congress and White House negotiators said on Monday they had made progress in talks on a new coronavirus relief bill.

The benchmark Kospi rose 28.93 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,279.97 - its highest close since Oct 2, 2018. That also marked the biggest daily gain in a week.

New Zealand shares rose as positive leads from global markets helped investors ignore the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The benchmark NZX-50 Index advanced 105.63 points, or 0.9 percent, at 11771.72.

Ryman Healthcare shares fell 2.3 percent after a contractor at one of its Melbourne construction sites tested positive for Covid-19.

U.S. stocks rose overnight as upbeat manufacturing data from the U.S., Europe and China raised hopes of a quick economic rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index surged 1.5 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 gained 0.7 percent.

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