Asia stocks rise as recovery signs offset new lockdowns
Hong Kong: Asian markets rose Thursday following a record lead from Wall Street, with investors cheered by hopes for a vaccine, more positive economic data and further lockdown easing in Europe.
The developments helped offset a worrying spike in infections in the US, which has led to the reimposition of containment measures that could slow recovery in the world's top economy, and warnings of worse to come.
Hong Kong led the gains on reopening after a one-day break, despite concerns about a new security law imposed on the city by China that observers said was more draconian than feared and could impact its future as an attractive business hub.
And while there are worries about the issue causing further friction between Beijing and the West, markets remain positive for now.
The Hang Seng Index rose 1.6 percent, Tokyo ended the morning 0.7 percent higher and Sydney put on more than one percent.
Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, Jakarta and Wellington were also well up.
The gains came after another all-time high for the tech-heavy Nasdaq on Wall Street, with investors now awaiting the release of key US June jobs data later in the day for a better grip on the economy following May's surprise jump in employment.
There was some cheer from figures showing a 2.37 million increase in private payrolls, though that was slightly below forecasts.
Adding to signs that the worst of the economic hit may have passed, US factory activity began growing again, while the rise in German retail sales was four times more than expected in May.
Meanwhile, hopes for a vaccine were given a boost after Germany's BioNTech and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer reported positive preliminary results from a joint project, which showed positive antibody responses.
Europe continued with its lockdown easing, with the EU reopening its borders to visitors from 15 countries, while Spain and Portugal held a ceremony to free up their land border. - AFP