Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Tuesday amid improved risk appetite as U.S. President Donald Trump’s signing of a $2.3 trillion pandemic bill and the Brexit trade deal raised hopes of an economic recovery.

Investor sentiment was further boosted after the U.S. House of Representatives backed Trump’s proposal and voted to increase the stimulus checks to $2,000 from $600, sending the measure to the Republican-controlled Senate for a vote.

The Australian market, which resumed trading after the long Christmas holidays, is rising following the strong gains overnight on Wall Street.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 55.10 points or 0.83 percent to 6,719.90, after rising to a high of 6,725.10. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 60.30 points or 0.87 percent to 6,977.80. The Australian market was closed on Monday for the Boxing Day holiday.

In the banking sector, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are advancing in a range of 0.8 percent to 1.3 percent.

The major miners are also higher. Fortescue Metals is rising more than 2 percent, Rio Tinto is adding 0.6 percent and BHP Group is edging up 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are advancing after crude oil prices rose overnight. Woodside Petroleum is higher by almost 2 percent, Santos is adding 0.6 percent and Oil Search is up 0.3 percent.

Among tech stocks, Appen is rising more than 2 percent and Afterpay is advancing almost 2 percent, while WiseTech Global is down 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners are mixed after gold prices edged lower overnight. Evolution Mining is advancing 1 percent, while Newcrest Mining lower by 0.2 percent.

The Japanese market is notably higher and the safe-haven yen weakened after U.S. stocks closed at record highs overnight.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is rising 358.56 points or 1.34 percent to 27,212.59, off a high of 27,218.60 earlier. Japanese stocks closed higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing are advancing more than 2 percent each. In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is higher by more than 2 percent and Advantest is adding 0.4 percent.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Sony is advancing more than 2 percent, while Canon and Panasonic are rising more than 1 percent each. Mitsubishi Electric is adding 0.6 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is adding 1 percent, while Honda is down 0.2 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is higher by 0.6 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is up 0.2 percent.

Among the major gainers, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is climbing more than 14 percent, IHI Corp. is rising more than 5 percent and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is higher by more than 4 percent.

On Monday, Myovant Sciences and Pfizer said they have formed a collaboration to develop and commercialize relugolix in oncology and women’s health in the U.S. and Canada. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma’s wholly-owned subsidiary is the majority shareholder of Myovant Sciences.

Conversely, Hino Motors and Bandai Namco Holdings are losing more than 2 percent each, while Japan Tobacco is lower by almost 2 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 103 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand and Indonesia are rising more than 1 percent each, while Hong Kong is advancing almost 1 percent. Shanghai and Singapore are also higher. Malaysia and Taiwan are modestly lower, while South Korea is little changed.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Monday in reaction to news that President Donald Trump has finally signed a $2.3 trillion government spending bill that includes approximately $900 billion in coronavirus relief funds. Trump had previously resisted signing the legislation, calling for $600 in direct payments to individuals to be increased to $2,000. Trading activity remained subdued, however, with many traders still away from their desks ahead of the New Year’s Day holiday on Friday.

The Dow climbed 204.10 points or 0.7 percent to 30,403.97, the Nasdaq rose 94.69 points or 0.7 percent to 12,899.42 and the S&P 500 advanced 32.30 points or 0.9 percent to 3,735.36.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Monday, with the U.K. markets closed for Boxing Day. The German DAX Index surged up by 1.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.2 percent.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Monday as rising coronavirus cases and tighter restrictions on travel in several places raised concerns about outlook for energy demand and offset positive news on the stimulus front. WTI crude for February ended down $0.61 or about 1.3 percent at $47.62 a barrel.

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