Asian Stocks Follow Wall Street Higher After Tech Gains

Given the current murky outlook, investors are likely to cash in on recent gains, analysts said

In this March 31, 2020, file photo, a currency trader walks by the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), right, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won, left top, at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea.
AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Thursday following gains for major U.S. tech stocks.

Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Australia rose.

U.S. stocks have recovered most of this year’s losses, helping to push up global prices, despite rising numbers of American coronavirus infections that threaten to derail economic improvement. Investors are buying technology and other companies they expect to emerge stronger from the global downturn.

On Wednesday, Wall Street turned in its sixth gain in seven days when the benchmark S&P 500 index closed up 0.8%. Amazon, Apple and Microsoft accounted for half that rise.

“The uptick in sentiment seems unrelated to any specific news,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2% to 3,408.77 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.3% to 22,498.51.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.3% to 26,200.18 despite U.S.-Chinese tension over a security law imposed on the territory.

The Kospi in Seoul was 0.4% higher at 2,168.06 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.9% to 5,975.60. New Zealand and Singapore retreated while Jakarta rose.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 3,169.94 and Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7%, to 26,067.28. The Nasdaq composite gained 1.4% to 10,492.50.

Optimism is rising about a reopening U.S. economy, but virus case numbers are rising across much of the South and West. Some state governments have reversed plans to allow restaurants and other businesses to reopen.

Amazon added 2.7%, Apple rose 2.3% and Microsoft gained 2.2%.

Major companies are due to report quarterly results next week. They are expected to be dismal.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 11 cents to $40.79 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 28 cents on Wednesday to settle at $40.90. Brent crude, the international price benchmark, shed 7 cents to $43.22 per barrel in London. It added 21 cents the previous session to $43.29.

The dollar was unchanged at 107.31 yen. The euro declined to $1.1345 from Wednesday's $1.1359.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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