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Asian Shares Advance As Trump Orders Coronavirus Relief

stockmarkets aug20 10aug20 lt

Asian stocks rose on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump signed executive orders aimed at extending coronavirus relief to Americans.

Democratic leaders, however, said that the new executive orders circumventing deadlocked congressional negotiations are far from adequate to meet the scope of the crises facing the United States.

Chinese shares ended notably higher after the release of inflation data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index inched up 25.22 points, or 0.75 percent, to 3,379.25, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended down 0.63 percent at 24,377.43.

Consumer prices in China were up an annual 2.7 percent in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 2.6 percent and was up from the 2.5 percent gain in June.

On a monthly basis, inflation rose 0.6 percent - again topping forecasts for a rise of 0.4 percent following the 0.1 percent decline in the previous month.

The producer prices were down 2.4 percent year-on-year versus expectations for a fall of 2.5 percent after skidding 3.0 percent a month earlier.

Australian markets rallied, with financials leading the surge after the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday they were open to restarting stimulus talks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 105.40 points, or 1.76 percent, to 6,110.20 as Prime Minister Scott Morrison said internal border closures were unlikely to lift before Christmas. The broader All Ordinaries index ended up 102.20 points, or 1.66 percent, at 6,247.10.

The big four banks rose around 3 percent while Credit Corp Group shares surged as much as 6.7 percent.

Mining heavyweights ended mixed, with BHP rising 1.4 percent while Rio Tinto dropped half a percent. Gold miner Newcrest Mining closed half a percent higher despite confirming a Covid-19 case at its Lihir Island facility.

Seoul stocks hit over two-year high on hopes for additional stimulus measures in the United States and amid signs that the U.S. economic rebound is still making headway despite a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The benchmark Kospi rallied 34.71 points, or 1.48 percent, to 2,386.38, marking the highest since 2,404.04 points on June 15, 2018.

Automakers rallied on expectations of a sales jump at home. Hyundai Motor surged 15.7 percent and its affiliate Kia Motors added 9.7 percent.

New Zealand shares eked out modest gains as the country marked 100 days without community transmission of the Covid-19. The benchmark NZX-50 index rose 36.76 points, or 0.32 percent, to 11,683.44, led by dual-listed banks ANZ and Westpac Banking.

Markets in Japan and Singapore were closed for Mountain Day and National Day holidays, respectively.

U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday as investors weighed escalating U.S.-China tensions against upbeat jobs data, with the economy adding 1.8 million jobs in July versus the 1.6 million increase expected by analysts. The unemployment rate dropped to 10.2 percent in July from 11.1 percent in June.

Investors also reacted to an ongoing political impasse over further economy relief and the new U.S. sanctions on Hong Kong officials over national security law.

The S&P 500 inched up marginally and the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.2 percent to extend gains for a sixth straight session, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.9 percent to snap a seven-day winning streak.

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