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Asian Stocks Close Mostly Higher

stockmarkets jan22 22apr21 lt

Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Thursday, rebounding a bit from recent losses on a positive lead from the performance by the U.S. markets and some bargain hunting.

The mood, however, was quite cautious in most of the markets in the region amid doubts about an early economic rebound due to the continuing surge in coronavirus in Asia and the possibility of lockdowns in certain places.

Japan reported nationwide daily infections of topped 5,000 for the first time in three months. The country's government is mulling fresh coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo as well as Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures on Friday.

India reported more than 3 lakh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with as many as 315,660 new cases and 2,091 deaths being recorded in the country about an hour before midnight.

In the Australian market, healthcare and information technology stocks fared well. The S&P/ASX 200 Index and the All Ordinaries Index both ended on a firm note, gaining 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent respectively.

Megaport Ltd. shares soared nearly 10 percent, while Monadelphous Group and Westgold Resources both climbed about 5.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Pilbara Minerals shares plunged nearly 11 percent. Several other materials shares, including Blackmores and Lynas Rare Earths, also ended sharply lower.

The Japanese stock market rose sharply, with the Nikkei 225 Index surging up 2.4 percent. The market breadth was pretty strong, with gainers outnumbering losers by 3.5 to 1.

Rakuten Inc., up nearly 6.5 percent, was among the top movers in the Nikkei index. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha rallied 5.5 percent and JFE Holdings jumped 4.7 percent.

Tokyo Electronics, Olympus Corp, Kikkoman Corp, Dainippon Screen Manufacturing, Terumo, Fujitsu, Nippon Yusen KK, Mitsui OSK Lines, Chiyoda and Chugain Pharmaceuticals were among the other major gainers.

The Chinese markets ended mixed. Shanghai's Composite Index dipped 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Sang ended up 0.5 percent.

Hong Kong's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in the January - March quarter, the lowest since the quarter ending December 2020, according to the Census and Statistics Department.

Indian stocks are notably higher. The BSE benchmark Sensex is up 385 points or 0.8 percent at 18,090.80, and the broader Nifty Index is up 110 points or 0.8 percent at 14,406.40.

Markets in Malaysia, New Zealand and South Korea finished higher. Taiwan closed weak, while Indonesia and Singapore settled flat.

On Wall Street, stocks moved higher overnight following the pullback seen over the two previous sessions. The major averages saw initial weakness but climbed firmly into positive territory as the day progressed.

The Dow jumped 316.01 points or 0.9 percent to 34,137.31, the Nasdaq surged up 163.95 points or 1.2 percent to 13,950.22 and the S&P 500 advanced 38.48 points or 0.9 percent to 4,173.42.

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