TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares surged Friday on optimism the worst of the economic fallout from the pandemic may be over, as Wall Street logged its biggest rally in a week.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8% to 20,025.91. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.3% to 1,954.48. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.8% to 5,408.90. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1% to 24,220.86, while the Shanghai Composite picked up 0.7% to 2,891.83.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 climbed 1.2% for its third gain in four days, following similar increases in European markets. Other areas of the market were still showing much more pessimism, though, including bonds.
“Plenty of dark clouds out there, but we have gone through pretty tempestuous economic times before, and this, too, shall pass,” Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp, said in a report.
“This is a policy-induced downturn, and the speed and structure of the recovery could track a different path from previous recessions. The bounce-back will be much quicker.”
The Nasdaq Composite rose for a fourth straight day on Thursday, clawing back its steep losses for the year, as tech shares added to their recent strong gains while investors mounted bets on the U.S. economy reopening soon.
The tech-heavy index closed 1.4% higher at 8,979.66 as Apple shares gained 1%. Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet rose as well. For the year, it closed up nearly 0.1%.
Thursday marked the first time one of the major averages was up year to date since the coronavirus pandemic led to the closure of nonessential businesses, sparking massive layoffs and a historic market sell-off.
Ari Rubenstein knows it’s an opinion people don’t want to hear. That two decades of computer takeovers on exchanges, advancements that put thousands of people out of work and left high-frequency traders like him in control, are what kept markets humming during the coronavirus.
The co-founder and CEO of electronic market maker GTS, whose own career began in commodities pits at the World Trade Center, is blunt when asked what would have happened had it still been necessary to get an army of floor traders to Lower Manhattan in March and April.
“It would’ve created massive uncertainty and exacerbated the problem tremendously,” says Rubenstein, whose firm sometimes buys and sells a billion shares a day. “If there was ever a question that technology and innovation is the future of Wall Street, we’re seeing that future right now.”