Asia stocks peak at record highs on hopes of economic recovery

The Nikkei reached highs it has not seen since 1990, with the Hang Seng and Kospi also surging

Asia stocks peak at record highs on hopes of economic recove                                 

The Nikkei reached highs it has not seen since 1990, with the Hang Seng and Kospi also surging, as investors hoped for economic recovery later in 2021 in spite of the global surge in coronavirus cases and political unrest in the US.

European share markets followed higher, with pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures up 0.77 per cent, German DAX futures up 0.83 per cent and FTSE futures up 0.46 per cent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was also up 1.56 per cent, touching a record high.

Seoul’s Kospi led the way, rising four per cent higher, also to a record high. In Tokyo, the Nikkei added 2.36 per cent, reaching its highest level since August 1990.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.05 per cent, despite reports the Trump administration was considering banning US entities from investing in more Chinese companies in the last days of the presidency, and despite the removal of major Chinese telecoms firms from FTSE Russell and MSCI indexes.

However, Chinese blue-chip shares fell 0.7 per cent.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.69 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 1.48 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.56 per cent, with all three indexes finishing at record closing highs.

 The gains come with hopes that Democratic takeover of both US houses of Congress will help President-elect Joe Biden’s government push through larger fiscal stimulus, despite recent political unrest.

US government officials have begun to consider removing President Donald Trump from office before Biden gets inaugurated on January 20, after Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building this week.

Despite this, the dollar index edged up against several currencies to 89.836 with the euro down 0.07 per cent to $1.2262. It was up by 0.1 per cent against the yen to 103.90. 

Meanwhile, Bitcoin soared above $40,000 (€32,663, £29,424) for the first time on Thursday, January 8, on high demand. 

In commodity markets, Brent Crude was up 0.57 per cent at $54.69 a barrel, near 11-month highs while US West Texas Intermediate rose 0.59 per cent to $51.13.

Spot gold dipped 0.28 per cent to $1,907.21 per ounce.

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