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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks set for strong start after day of gains on Wall Street

Jessica DiNapoli
·2 min read

By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Asian markets were set to rise on Thursday after U.S. stocks closed at record highs on hopes that newly inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden would put in place further economic stimulus to offset damage wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Asian stocks are primed to follow their U.S. peers higher on optimism that U.S. federal spending will revive growth and corporate earnings," said Ryan Felsman, a senior economist at CommSec in Sydney. "That's all pointing to a positive day in Asia."

The Biden administration is expected to push through a nearly $2 trillion U.S. fiscal stimulus plan.

Felsman said tech stocks in Asia may also rise in response to positive news from Netflix Inc, whose shares surged 16.85% after the company said it would no longer need to borrow billions of dollars to finance its TV shows and movies.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.07%.

Australia's ASX 200 jumped more than 0.80% in early trade Thursday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures rose 0.23%.

The Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.38% on Wednesday, and the futures contract is up 0.74% from that close.

Along with Netflix, the rest of the FAANG group, scheduled to report results in the coming weeks, jumped. Google parent Alphabet Inc rose 5.36%.

The dollar fell against most currencies on Wednesday, as investors' risk appetite held up.

Oil prices rose on the hopes that Biden delivers on the economic stimulus, a move that will increase demand for oil.

U.S. Treasuries did not move much on Wednesday, with the market looking past the inauguration at this point.

(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; editing by Richard Pullin)