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Asian Markets Show Modest Optimism
A pedestrian walks past a stock indicator displaying share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on February 6, 2020. - Tokyo stocks closed more than two percent higher on February 6, boosted by record-setting advances on Wall Street on strong US economic data and hopes over containing the deadly new coronavirus. (Photo by STR / JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT

Asian Markets Show Modest Optimism

HONG KONG: Stocks across the Asia-Pacific region rose in morning trading. Stocks rise in Asia on policy optimism, Europe set to follow.

Markets in Asia-Pacific showed some optimism on Friday after a tumultuous week, as investors digested news of fresh measures by Europe and the United States to shore up economies that have been devastated by the coronavirus.

Europe appeared ready to follow, with futures trading indicating a modest gain when markets open later on Friday. Wall Street, however, could be in for more turbulence on Friday.

Stocks across the Asia-Pacific region rose in morning trading, with the exception of Japan. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 3 percent, while Seoul’s Kospi was up 3.8 percent. Australia’s ASX 200 was up 1.5 percent. In Taiwan, stocks jumped by 5.5 percent. Tokyo was the region’s only loser, and its Nikkei 225 was trading down 1 percent.

In China, markets were more muted. Shenzhen and Shanghai both rose around 0.4 percent.

Investors are reacting to news overnight that the European Central Bank would begin a massive bond-buying program to cauterize the economic bleeding across Europe caused by nationwide shutdowns to contain the coronavirus. In the United States, the Federal Reserve announced a plan to support money market funds.

“The pledged policy response has been swift — and we expect total fiscal stimulus to be similar in size to that of the financial crisis but in a shorter time frame,” wrote analysts at BlackRock Investment Institute, a research arm of the world’s biggest money manager. “We believe market volatility is distracting from the sheer amount of promised stimulus — with more to come.”

But investors still continued to pile money into safe haven assets, too, indicating that some concerns remain. The price of gold rose, while the yields on 10-year United States Treasuries fell.

Wall Street ended slightly higher on Thursday after a volatile session as investors weighed fresh evidence of a sharp economic decline against efforts in the United States and Europe to offset the damage.

By the end of the day, which had started with a sharp drop on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose by less than 1 percent, and shares in Europe also scratched out small gains. Oil prices, which had collapsed by more than 20 percent on Wednesday, sharply rebounded.

The uneven trading came as the steady drumbeat of bad news continued about the spread of the coronavirus, and its impact on the economy.