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Asian Shares Rise In Thin Holiday Trading

stockmarkets dec24 23nov20 lt

Asian stocks rose on Monday as hopes for imminent coronavirus vaccines helped investors shrug off reports of renewed lockdowns in several countries.

Chinese stocks climbed after the country's financial regulators vowed to adopt a zero-tolerance approach and punish all kinds of "debt evasion" to protect investors.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 36.76 points, or 1.1 percent, to 3,414.49, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended up 34.66 points, or 0.1 percent, at 26,486.20.

The Japanese market was closed for the Labor Thanksgiving Day. South Korea's Kospi rallied 49.09 points, or 1.9 percent, to 2,602.59, extending gains for a fourth consecutive session on the back of improving export data and optimism over coronavirus vaccines.

Today's closing price is just shy of the index's record high of 2,607.10 points recorded on January 29, 2018. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics surged 4.3 percent to reach a record high of 67,500 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix and chemical firm LG Chem both rose over 3 percent.

Customs data showed that South Korea's exports rose 11.1 percent year-on-year in the first 20 days of November, with outbound shipments of memory chips soaring 21.9 percent over the cited period.

South Korea's social distancing alert level was raised to Level 2 for Seoul and its surrounding area as the country's new daily infections stayed over 300 for six consecutive days.

Australian markets eked out modest gains, with energy and mining firms leading the surge as the country moved a step closer to normal life on Sunday, opening some internal borders and easing restrictions in regions affected by Covid-19.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index inched up 22.40 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,561.60, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 32.10 points, or 0.5 percent, at 6,772.

Origin Energy, Beach Energy, Santos and Oil Search surged 3-5 percent as oil extended gains on hopes of a recovery in fuel demand after successful vaccine trials.

Fuel supplier Ampol jumped 4.6 percent after announcing an off-market share buyback. Qantas and Sydney Airport rose 1-2 percent as the biggest Australian states reopened borders.

Global miners BHP and Rio Tinto gained 2.5 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Theme park operator Village Roadshow soared 16.3 percent after receiving a sweetened takeover offer from BGH Capital.

In economic news, the latest survey from Markit Economics showed the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in November, and at a faster rate, with a Manufacturing PMI score of 56.1, up from 54.2 in October.

The survey also showed that the services index rose to 54.9 from 53.8, while the composite index came in at 54.7 - up from 53.6 a month earlier.

New Zealand shares rose after official data showed the country's retail sales volume soared 28.0 percent sequentially in the third quarter of 2020 - recovering from the 14.6 percent drop in the Covid-19 ravaged second quarter.

On a yearly basis, retail sales volume advanced 8.3 percent after sinking 14.2 percent in the three months prior. The benchmark NZX-50 index edged up 59.93 points, or 0.48 percent, to 12,501.74.

U.S. stocks ended firmly in negative territory on Friday as new coronavirus cases continued to surge and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended his decision to end several of the Fed's economic support programs on December 31.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.8 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite eased 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.7 percent.

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