Asian Shares Mixed After Historic Wall Street Rout
Asian stocks seesawed on Tuesday before ending mixed after a White House adviser said the United States could pump $800 billion or more into the economy to minimize the economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak.
There were also reports that EU finance ministers are planning a coordinated economic response to contain the virus amid fears of a global recession.
The Philippines shut its markets “until further notice” after the country’s benchmark PSE Composite Index plunged almost 8 percent on Monday.
Trading was suspended “to ensure the safety of employees and traders in light of the escalating cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19),” the Philippine Stock Exchange said in a statement on its website.
Chinese shares ended a choppy session modestly lower. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index eased 9.61 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,779.64 as China reported 21 new cases of coronavirus along with 13 new deaths.
All but one of the new confirmed cases were brought into the country by citizens returning from abroad. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 200.16 points, or 0.9 percent, to 23,263.73.
Japanese shares recovered from an early slide to finish marginally higher after economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said the government would consider tax cuts and other measures to battle the damage from the virus outbreak.
Fund constraints also eased after the Bank of Japan offered $30.27 billion in its 84-day dollar funding operation. The BOJ’s cash injection came after the world’s six major central banks took a joint step to provide more cash dollars on Sunday.
The Nikkei 225 Index fell over 3 percent in early trading on fears over the coronavirus pandemic before ending the session up 9.49 points, or 1 percent, at 17,011.53. The broader Topix jumped 2.6 percent to 1,268.46.
Automaker Honda Motor rose over 1 percent, Toyota Motor surged 7 percent and Nissan Motor added 2.4 percent as the dollar gained versus the yen and the euro. Sony rallied 3.6 percent and gaming giant Nintendo soared 5.9 percent.
Japanese industrial production rose a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent month-on-month in January, a government report showed today. Economists had expected an increase of 0.8 percent. On a yearly basis, industrial production declined 2.3 percent in January.
Australian markets rebounded from their largest fall on record. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 surged up 291.40 points, or 5.8 percent, to 5,293.40, the largest one-day gain, after plummeting nearly 10 percent on Monday. The broader All Ordinaries Index spiked 274.60 points, or 5.4 percent, to 5,332.80.
The release of minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s meeting in early March showed that members feared the coronavirus would cause major disruption to economic activity around the world.
The board judged that low interest rates for an extended period of time would be required in order to meet employment and inflation targets.
Separately, official data showed that house prices in Australia were up 3.9 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2019. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 4.5 percent but up from 2.4 percent in the three months prior.
The big four banks rallied 7-13 percent, while miners BHP, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto jumped 7-12 percent.
Gold miners Evolution and Newcrest soared 8-10 percent despite gold prices declining overnight. Regis Resources shares jumped 18.6 percent.
Meanwhile, Santos tumbled 5.3 percent after announcing it is reviewing all capital spending plans following the collapse in oil prices. Qantas Airways lost 5.3 percent on news it will cut its international flights by 90 percent from the end of March until the end of May.
Seoul stocks lost ground despite the Bank of Korea slashing interest rates by 50 basis points in an emergency meeting. The Kospi ended down 42.42 points, or 2.5 percent, at 1,672.44.
New Zealand shares ended off their day’s lows after the government announced a $12.1 billion stimulus package to soften the impact of the global pandemic.
The NZX 50 Index dropped 42.52 points, or 0.5 percent, to 9,434.74, marking its seventh consecutive decline in the face of a looming recession.
Fisher and Paykel Healthcare shares fluctuated before finishing down about 1.2 percent after lifting its net profit guidance for the full year.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index tumbled 1.7 percent. The country’s non-oil domestic exports increased 3.0 percent year-on-year in February, reversing a 3.3 percent decrease in January, official data revealed. Economists had expected a 7.8 percent decline. Electronic NODX rose by 2.5 percent, and non-electronic NODX gained 3.2 percent.
Overnight, U.S. stocks saw biggest day drop in more than three decades after President Donald Trump said the coronavirus outbreak could last until July or August and that the economy “may be” heading for recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 12.9 percent to a new three-year closing low, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gave up 12.3 percent and the S&P 500 lost 12 percent to end at their worst closing levels in over a year.
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