Asian stocks advanced on Tuesday, as investors hunted for bargains after a recent sell-off on worries about inflation and a surge in coronavirus cases in a number of Asian countries.
Traders also looked ahead to the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting for more cues on the U.S. central bank’s monetary policy.
Chinese shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite index rising 0.32 percent to settle at 3,529.01.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended up 399.72 points, or 1.42 percent, at 28,593.81. Singapore and Hong Kong have officially deferred plans to launch a quarantine-free travel bubble as the highly transmissible strain of Covid-19 that surfaced in India becomes more prominent among the growing number of unlinked cases.
Japanese shares posted strong gains as investors went bargain hunting in beaten-down stocks. The Nikkei average jumped 582.01 points, or 2.09 percent, to 28,406.84, recovering from a four-month low hit last week. The broader Topix index closed 1.54 percent higher at 1,907.74.
Investors shrugged off relatively disappointing GDP data showing that the economy shrank more than expected in the first quarter as a result of slow vaccine rollout and new COVID-19 infections.
Recruit Holdings soared 7.2 percent after the staffing firm provided a strong outlook for the current financial year. Similarly, lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 2.3 percent after issuing an upbeat forecast for the current year.
Department store firm J.Front Retailing rallied 3.2 percent and Isetan Mitsukoshi surged 3.6 percent as authorities started accepting online bookings for older people to receive COVID-19 vaccines at large state-run centers in Tokyo and Osaka.
Australian shares rose for a third straight session as higher iron ore and bullion prices helped lift miners. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 42.40 points, or 0.60 percent, to 7,066 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 43.30 points, or 0.60 percent, at 7,299.10.
Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto rallied about 2 percent after iron ore prices rose on a continuing surge in steel output.
Gold miner Evolution Mining surged 4.9 percent and Northern Star Resources added 2 percent as inflation jitters and a weaker dollar helped push bullion prices to a 3-1/2-month high.
Banks ANZ and NAB gained over 1 percent after upbeat RBA minutes. Energy stocks rose broadly after an overnight rise in oil prices while tech shares ended on a mixed note.
Building products group James Hardie Industries slumped 4.5 percent after warning of inflationary pressures.
Seoul stocks rebounded from a decline in the previous session as investors sought to pick up oversold tech and semiconductor shares, tracking a rebound in Taiwan’s stock market.
The benchmark Kospi climbed 38.53 points, or 1.23 percent, to 3,173.05 ahead of a national holiday on Wednesday for Buddha’s Birthday. No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix gained 3 percent. Steelmaker POSCO surged over 5 percent on hopes of rising steel prices.
New Zealand shares ended slightly higher, with the benchmark NZX-50 index ending up 18.15 points, or 0.15 percent, at 12,428.62 as investors awaited cues from the earnings season. Serko climbed 4.9 percent and Argosy Property jumped 4.7 percent ahead of their earnings results, due on Wednesday.
U.S. stocks ended off their day’s lows overnight as inflation worries weighed and investors reacted to mixed readings on the manufacturing and housing sectors.
The Dow ended 0.2 percent lower, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 shed 0.3 percent.
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