BUSINESS NEWS

Stock Markets in Asia Open Strong: Live Business Updates

Asian markets jump on recovery hopes.

Asian markets jumped in early Monday trading on continuing hopes that the global economy will recover relatively quickly from the coronavirus outbreak.

Hong Kong led the regional rise, which followed Friday’s similarly strong performance on Wall Street. Futures markets were predicting strong openings for Wall Street and Europe as well.

Investors are increasingly betting on what is called a V-shaped recovery, or an initial plunge in economic activity followed by a strong surge. But a quick recovery isn’t assured, especially as a second wave of outbreaks occurs in the United States, China, South Korea and other places trying to get their economies back on track.

Monday’s optimism was broad, with prices for U.S. Treasury bonds — which often rise in times of uncertainty — tumbling during Asian trading. But oil prices fell on continued worries about an oversupply.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 average was up 1.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.9 percent. The Shanghai Composite index in mainland China was up 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1 percent.

The S&P 500 climbed more than 1 percent. European markets were higher after a broadly positive day in Asia.

Investors were cheered by the prospects of countries further reopening their economies, despite worries that those efforts could lead to a rise in infections. They were also bolstered by announcements from the United States and China that appeared to back their Phase 1 trade deal, which would bring their two-year trade war to a temporary truce. The White House had openly questioned China’s commitment to the deal in recent days, hurting stocks.

The optimism was widespread. Prices for U.S. Treasury bonds, which generally rise in troubled times, were lower. Oil prices also rose.

But more grim economic data was released on Friday. The report on April payrolls in the United States is showed a loss of more than 20.5 million jobs — a breathtaking drop — and a sharp jump in the unemployment rate. Corporate earnings reports, too, are reflecting the heavy toll of the pandemic. Siemens, the European industrial giant, said profit fell 64 percent in the first quarter.

The stock market has shown a remarkable indifference to the dire outlook for the economy since it began to rally on March 23. That was the day the Federal Reserve signaled that it stood ready to pump an unlimited amount of dollars into financial markets to keep key borrowing markets from malfunctioning.

Tesla’s chief, Elon Musk, and local health officials in California clashed on Saturday over the timing of the reopening of Tesla’s factory in Fremont, with the company’s chief executive pushing for an immediate return and the county’s government seeking a delay of about a week.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Musk said he would move the company’s headquarters out of California to Texas or Nevada.

The tweets came a day after health officials from Alameda County told Tesla that it was not yet allowed to resume production of electric vehicles in Fremont because of fears that the coronavirus could spread among the company’s workers. Manufacturers have been allowed to restart work in other parts of the state that have had less severe outbreaks of the virus.

“Frankly, this is the final straw,” Mr. Musk said on Twitter. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will depend on how Tesla is treated in the future.”

Scott Haggerty, the county supervisor for the district in Alameda County where Tesla’s Fremont plant is located, said on Saturday that he had been confident that county health officials and Tesla executives were close to an agreement on reopening the plant on May 18. But, Mr. Haggerty said, that appeared to be unacceptable to Mr. Musk, who wanted to open the plant on May 8.

“We were working on a lot of policies and procedures to help operate that plant and quite frankly, I think Tesla did a pretty good job, and that’s why I had it to the point where on May 18, Tesla would have opened,” Mr. Haggerty said. “I know Elon knew that. But he wanted it this week.”

Apartment rent collections are surprisingly strong so far this month, with an industry survey showing that a vast majority of tenants have made payments.

Through the first six days of May, 80.2 percent of tenants paid at least some of their rent, compared with 81.2 percent a year earlier, according to a survey of 11.4 million apartments by the National Multifamily Housing Council, a trade group for large apartment owners. That was better than the first week of April, when 78 percent of tenants paid some or all of their rent. By the end of the month, the figure had risen to almost 95 percent.

A similar story has played out in state surveys and corporate earnings reports, with publicly traded apartment companies reporting strong rent collections in April and May.

Government stimulus checks and expanded unemployment benefits appear to have helped backstop consumer finances. Still, there are concerns about the trade-offs that low-income renters must make to pay their rent, and how long they can continue to do so with millions of new unemployment claims filed each week.

Two Democrats, Representative Denny Heck of Washington and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, introduced bills on Friday providing $100 billion to cover about six months of housing costs for tenants. “This bill will help tenants pay their rent, without placing the burden on landlords,” Mr. Heck said in a statement.

Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.

  • Bed Bath & Beyond announced plans for a phased-in approach to reopen approximately 20 stores by May 22, but the majority of stores would remain closed until at least May 30. The company plans to promote store safety with hand sanitizer and wipes, occupancy limits, social distancing and curbside pickup. Bed Bath & Beyond also owns Buybuy Baby and Harmon Face Values, which sell essential goods and have remained open during the pandemic.

Reporting was contributed by Niraj Chokshi, Conor Dougherty, Gregory Schmidt and Mohammed Hadi.


Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close
Close