Asian markets rally on Wall Street’s optimism.
Following Wall Street’s lead, markets across Asia were buoyant on Wednesday, as investors continued to cheer the prospect of a $2 trillion coronavirus package to shore up the American economy.
The positive mood looked likely to carry over into European markets, as trading in Europe futures indicated a strong opening for stocks there as well.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped by more than 5 percent, even as the organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games said they would postpone the event by a year. Chinese stocks were also trading up, with Shanghai’s SE Composite up by more than 1.7 percent and Shenzhen stocks rising by more than 2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose by 2 percent and South Korea’s Kospi gained more than 4 percent.
Markets have been volatile in recent weeks, see-sawing on sentiment that has veered between hope that governments around the world will take strong measures to stem economic losses from the spread of the coronavirus, and fear that policymakers are not making bold enough decisions.
On Tuesday, Congress appeared close to approving a huge stimulus bill that would help to provide a ballast for companies and industries hardest hit by the outbreak. It would also give money to Americans, many of whom have lost their jobs in recent days and weeks.
Elsewhere, governments have taken more concrete measures. On Monday, Germany prepared an emergency budget and rescue fund for companies and state-supported loans. European Union leaders are working on additional new measures to help loosen up money for some countries to help soften the economic blow of the virus.
“Today’s sharp equity rally shows that the combination of central banks’ entire Global Financial Crisis playbook and substantial, direct fiscal support can be well-received by markets,” said Paul Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, in a note to investors about Tuesday’s performance on Wall Street.
“Encouragingly, recent new lows in stocks have been accompanied by either sideways or even lower volatility, indicating markets are starting to become more comfortable with the potential range of outcomes we face,” Mr. Haefele added.
The price of oil also jumped after a period of steep declines. The international benchmark, Brent crude, and the United States standard, West Texas Intermediate, both gained more than 3 percent.
Shares of companies likely to get help from the government rallied.
Stocks in the United States soared on Tuesday on expectations that Congress was close to producing a stimulus bill to stabilize America’s faltering economy and offer lifelines to industries on the brink of collapse because of the coronavirus.
A plan to bail out companies and send checks of up to $1,200 to Americans had been stalled since Sunday over objections by Democrats. But on Tuesday, top Democrats and Trump administration officials said they were optimistic about finalizing an agreement on a roughly $2 trillion plan.
The S&P 500 had its biggest daily gain since 2008, rising more than 9 percent. Stocks in Europe climbed, led by Germany, where stocks rose more than 10 percent. Those gains followed a similar performance in Asia, where major markets around the region posted increases that ranked among their biggest gains in weeks.
The jump on Tuesday was in part a rebound from a difficult stretch for stock investors. On Monday, the S&P 500 fell about 3 percent as Congress struggled to overcome differences on the aid bill and traders remained cautious about the Federal Reserve’s ability to cushion the economy’s fall. Stocks are down almost 30 percent since their peak in February.