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Asian Markets Rise but Alarm Persists
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Asian Markets Rise but Alarm Persists

Asian markets followed Wall Street higher in morning trading on Wednesday, but other indicators pointed to persistent unease over the state of the world economy.

Japanese stocks led the rise, which didn’t fully match a more than 5 percent rise in Wall Street overnight on news of the Trump administration’s efforts to support the American economy. The Nikkei 225 average was up 1.7 percent midday.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.2 percent, while the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite Index rose 2.5 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.3 percent.

The bond market kept the optimism from trading in the United States. The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond continued to trade lower, sending up yields and suggesting investors had more appetite for risks. Oil prices also rose in Asian trading.

Still, other markets continued to signal alarm.

Futures that track stocks in the United States suggested Wall Street would open lower on Wednesday.

Australia’s S&P/ASX index, one of the Asia-Pacific region’s worst performers because of the nation’s dependence on China, dropped 6.4 percent.

Gold, a traditional safe haven for investors, rose in futures trading as well.

After suffering their worst day in decades, stocks bounced back on Tuesday as Washington policymakers talked up plans to try to cushion an economy careening toward a deep recession driven by the coronavirus outbreak.

The S&P 500 rose 6 percent, rebounding from a 12 percent collapse on Monday, which was its steepest drop since 1987.

Still, even if the financial system functions well, a daunting economic challenge continues to face the American economy, as the spread of the coronavirus forces federal, state and local officials to take simultaneous actions that will cut consumer spending. Such spending accounts for roughly 70 percent of American gross domestic product.

Even as stocks gained, the trading on Tuesday reflected some of these concerns. The best performing parts of the market were traditionally defensive areas, such as the utilities and consumer staples, where investors typically hide out during trying economic times. Oil prices also fell.