HONG KONG: Asian stocks rose on the final day of the month amid optimism from corporate results and signs of progress in treating the coronavirus. The dollar recouped some of this week’s retreat, reported Bloomberg.
Japanese shares climbed more than 1.5% along with gains in Shanghai and Sydney, while Hong Kong and South Korea were shut for a holiday. Nasdaq futures advanced after results from Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc. and Tesla Inc. lifted sentiment. The S&P 500 Index earlier gained more than 2.5% to touch a seven-week high. Gilead Sciences Inc. said its experimental drug helped Covid-19 patients recover faster. Oil futures continued to rebound after plunging at the start of the week.
The U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony Fauci, said the early results from the Gilead drug trial offered “quite good news,” providing some optimism that scientists are making progress in therapies to combat the pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration plans to announce emergency use authorization for the drug as early as Wednesday, the New York Times said.
“What’s really driving markets at this stage is any positive news of potential treatments and vaccines, because ultimately that is a game changer,” said Seema Shah, a global investment strategist for Principal Global Investors. “That’s what’s going to be pushing markets, plus anything with regards to the lockdown being lifted earlier.”
Global stocks are up 11% this month as investors weigh plans by countries around the world to restart activity. The latest data from China showed a slight dip in manufacturing in April, while a reading on the services sector topped estimates. In Japan, industrial production slumped to its lowest since 2013 in March.