Asian stocks set for strong start after day of gains on Wall Street

A senior economist said Asian stocks are primed to follow their US peers higher on optimism that US federal spending will revive growth and corporate earnings. — Reuters pic
A senior economist said Asian stocks are primed to follow their US peers higher on optimism that US federal spending will revive growth and corporate earnings. — Reuters pic

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NEW YORK, Jan 21 — Asian markets were set to rise today after US stocks closed at record highs on hopes that newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden would put in place further economic stimulus to offset damage wreaked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Asian stocks are primed to follow their US peers higher on optimism that US federal spending will revive growth and corporate earnings,” said Ryan Felsman, a senior economist at CommSec in Sydney. “That’s all pointing to a positive day in Asia.”

The Biden administration is expected to push through a nearly US$2 trillion (RM8 trillion) US fiscal stimulus plan.

Felsman said tech stocks in Asia may also rise in response to positive news from Netflix Inc, whose shares surged 16.85 per cent after the company said it would no longer need to borrow billions of dollars to finance its TV shows and movies.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.07 per cent.

Australia’s ASX 200 jumped more than 0.80 per cent in early trade today.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures rose 0.23 per cent.

The Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.38 per cent yesterday, and the futures contract is up 0.74 per cent from that close.

Along with Netflix, the rest of the FAANG group, scheduled to report results in the coming weeks, jumped. Google parent Alphabet Inc rose 5.36 per cent.

The dollar fell against most currencies yesterday, as investors’ risk appetite held up.

Oil prices rose on the hopes that Biden delivers on the economic stimulus, a move that will increase demand for oil.

US Treasuries did not move much yesterday, with the market looking past the inauguration at this point. — Reuters

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