Asian stocks rise after Fed chief optimistic about recovery

Asian stocks rise after Fed chief optimistic about recovery


BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Monday after the chief U.S. central banker expressed optimism the the American economy might start to recover this year from the coronavirus pandemic.

Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Australia all advanced.

That came despite Japan’s announcement that its economy contracted in the first quarter and the Trump administration’s decision to step up a technology conflict with Beijing by tightening restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

Investors appear to be looking past the outbreak to a recovery despite rising infection numbers in the United States, Brazil and some other countries. Forecasters warn the the latest market buoyancy might be premature and a return to normal could be some way off.

Market sentiment “will likely remain fragile” as investors weigh government stimulus plans against rising U.S.-Chinese tension and poor economic data, said Riki Ogawa of Mizuho Bank in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7% to 2,888.78 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.6% to 20,158.20. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.4% to 23,886.13.

The Kospi in Seoul was 0.5% higher at 1,936.13 and Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 1.1% to 5,464.20. India's Sensex opened down 3.1% at 30,132.92. Markets in New Zealand and Singapore also advanced.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expressed optimism Sunday that the U.S. economy can begin to rebound in the second half, assuming the coronavirus doesn’t erupt in a second wave, but said a full recovery won’t likely be possible before the arrival of a vaccine.

That appeared to encourage investors who are looking for signs of when global economies might return to normal.

In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Powell said the U.S. economy was fundamentally...

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