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Asian Stocks Up, “Positive Day” Ahead After Biden Inauguration

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·3 min read
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By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were up on Thursday morning, rising for a third consecutive session as Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th U.S. president. They followed a path charted by their U.S. counterparts, which closed at records and the S&P 500 posted its best first-day reaction to a presidential inauguration since at least 1937 during the previous session.

China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.40% by 9:14 PM ET (2:14 AM GMT) and the Shenzhen Component jumped 1.07%. The country marked the new administration by imposing sanctions on officials in the Trump administration, including former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

Although U.S.-Chinese tensions are unlikely to ease to the extent hoped for by Chinese officials, they called for co-operation with the new Biden administration. In the meantime, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has locked the official account of the Chinese embassy to the U.S., citing a violation of its ‘dehumanization’ policy.

China Mobile Ltd (HK:0941), China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. (NYSE:CHU) and China Telecom Corp Ltd . (NYSE:CHA) Also filed a request with the New York Stock Exchange for a review of the decision to delist the Chinese company’s stocks from the bourse.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index inched up 0.05%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.78%. The Bank of Japan will hand down its policy decision later in the day.

South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.68% and in Australia, the ASX 200 gained 0.71%.

“Asian stocks are primed to follow their U.S. peers higher on optimism that U.S. federal spending will revive growth and corporate earnings ... that’s all pointing to a positive day in Asia” CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman told Reuters.

The Biden administration's promise of more economic support and an increased federal effort to get more vaccines to more Americans boosted stocks despite wobbles in vaccine distribution and rising COVID-19 infection rates.

“If stimulus happens at the same time that people get vaccinated, the optimism can’t help but build. It’s a fairly safe bet there will be another stimulus package with more direct payments to consumers and individuals and more help for small businesses,” GLOBALT Investments portfolio manager Keith Buchanan told Bloomberg.

Biden got straight to work after the inauguration, signing 15 executive actions on Wednesday, covering COVID-19, climate change, and immigration among other issues, stating “these are just all starting points.”

However, Secretary of the Treasury nominee Janet Yellen encountered early Republican resistance to Biden’s $.1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan during her Senate confirmation hearing.

Across the Atlantic, Germany saw a record number of daily COVID-19 deaths, and a study of a variant of the virus seen in South Africa raised questions about the efficacy of the vaccines currently available.

On the central bank front, the European Central Bank will also hand down its policy decision later in the day.

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