Asian stock markets rebound, following Wall Street higher

Asian stock markets have rebounded and followed Wall Street higher, at least temporarily shaking off jitters about China’s virus outbreak

BEIJING —
Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Tuesday, at least temporarily shaking off jitters about China’s virus outbreak.

Benchmarks in Hong Kong and South Korea rose more than 1%, rebounding from big declines Monday, and Shanghai also advanced. Tokyo fell for a second day.

“Concerns over the coronavirus appear to have once again receded,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index closed at a new high Monday, recovering from Friday’s decline.

Anxiety about the virus has been partially offset by stronger U.S. corporate earnings and expectations global central banks will step in to support economic growth.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 1.3% to 27,601.30 while the Kospi in Seoul rose 1.3% to 2,230.71. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5% to 2,906.03.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.6% to 23,685.98 while the S&P-ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.7% to 7,062.90. New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia also advanced.

Asian markets slid Monday after analysts warned investor optimism that China’s disease outbreak was under control might be premature.

The government reported 108 deaths in the 24 hours through midnight Monday, the first time the daily fatality toll exceeded 100.

That raised mainland China’s death toll to 1,016 with 42,638 confirmed cases, most of them in the central province of Hubei, where the virus emerged in December.

China extended its Lunar New Year holiday to discourage travel and keep factories and offices closed in a bid to contain the disease.

Businesses are gradually reopening and the government has promised low-interest loans and tax cuts but airlines and other industries face potentially huge losses.

The impact abroad is spreading. On Monday, Sony and Amazon became the latest companies to pull out of a major European technology show due to virus fears.

“The cause for unbridled relief (much less optimism) is illusory,” said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 gained 0.7% to 3,352.09 on gains by technology stocks, retailers and restaurants.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6% to 29,276.82. The Nasdaq climbed 1.1% to 9,628.39.

Traders shifted money into U.S. government bonds and bid up the price of gold. Both can signal unease. Investors mostly shunned energy and materials stocks, which depend upon economic growth more than other sectors do.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 57 cents to $50.14 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 75 cents on Monday to settle at $49.57. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 73 cents to $54.00. It dropped $1.20 the previous session to close at $53.27.

CURRENCY: The dollar advanced to 109.87 yen from Monday’s 109.70 yen. The euro was unchanged at $1.0914.