Asia shares extend gains on recovery hopes, following stellar November

Japan's Nikkei was up 1.34 per cent while South Korea was up 1.5 per cent. PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Asian share markets began the new month with a bang on Tuesday (Dec 1), buoyed by the prospect of a Covid-19 vaccine fueling a global economic recovery, buoyant Chinese factory activity and expectations of continuing fiscal and monetary support.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 1.08 per cent after closing the month 9 per cent higher, the best November since 2001.

China's blue-chip CSI300 index jumped 1.56 per cent higher on Tuesday, after a business survey showed on Tuesday activity in China's factory sector accelerated at the fastest pace in a decade in November.

"That was one of the strongest readings we've had for many, many, many years in China, indeed, supporting the broader economic recovery story for the region," said John Woods, Asia Pacific Chief Investment Officer at Credit Suisse's Private Bank.

"Where the China PMI goes, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan follows, so we would expect to see further capital appreciation on the strong growth story in China."

Japan's Nikkei was up 1.34 per cent while South Korea was up 1.5 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was 1 per cent higher after Australia's central bank said the country's economy would need fiscal and monetary support "for some time" while noting the run of better news.

Singapore's Straits Times Index was up 0.25 per cent at 2.06pm local time.

"What we are seeing today is that upward trend reasserting itself, given the positive news on the vaccine front, China's growth picking up, and the tremendous faith in the ability of central banks to keep the markets afloat," said Stephen Miller, market strategist for GSFM Funds Management.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe was 0.18 per cent higher and E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.9 per cent.

"We've seen clearly a huge wave of liquidity coming to equities in response to the vaccine news and in response to US election news," said Hamish Tadgell, a portfolio manager at SG Hiscock & Company.

"But there are still risks, and as a result we could see the market pullback, I think, particularly as we come into the Christmas period."

Moderna Inc applied for US emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1 per cent effective with no serious safety concerns.

The progress on the Covid-19 vaccines and hopes of a swift economic rebound next year were adding to the optimistic sentiment in the market, analysts said.

"I think that markets are pricing in, if not fully pricing a recovery, they are pricing in the vast majority of it (and) it's very hard to meet these elevated expectations," said Interactive Brokers Chief Strategist Steve Sosnick.

The dollar was under pressure on Tuesday, after closing out its worst month since July with a little bounce and as investors reckon on even more US monetary easing.

The US bond market was slightly weaker, as the US Congress began a two-week sprint to secure government funding and avoid a possible shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Benchmark US 10-year yields rose with US Treasury futures trading one pip lower at US$138.51.

Oil prices were slightly lower on uncertainty about whether the world's major oil producers would agree to extend deep output cuts at talks this week.

US crude eased back 35 cents to US$44.99 a barrel on Tuesday, while Brent crude futures were 33 cents lower at US$47.55.

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