Asian stocks set to rise as focus swings to recovery prospects


By John McCrank

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stocks were expected to rise on Thursday, as hopes of a robust economic recovery offset concerns over flare-ups in the coronavirus pandemic, and as investors looked ahead to earnings season.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures were up 0.85%, {{178|Japan’s Ni added 0.16%, and Hong Kong’s futures rose 0.82%.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 edged up 0.08%.

“Risk sentiment remains resilient ahead of next week’s key earnings reports,” said NAB economist Tapas Strickland.

He singled out earnings from JPMorgan (NYSE:), Citigroup (NYSE:), and Wells Fargo (NYSE:) on Tuesday, as well as tech heavyweights of Microsoft (NASDAQ:) and Netflix (NASDAQ:) on Thursday.

Demand for technology stocks lifted U.S. shares and helped the Nasdaq add 1.44% to 10,492.50, its fourth record closing high in five days.

The rose 0.68% and the S&P 500 gained 0.78%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.29% higher, helped by Chinese stocks, which have rallied for seven-straight days. Emerging market stocks rose 1.67%.

Gold also gained. Concerns over the pandemic and the extraordinary amounts of fiscal and monetary stimulus unleashed around the world to counteract its economic impact led some investors to seek safety in the yellow metal, which soared past the $ 1,800, its highest level since September 2011.

The passing of the key technical threshold for gold came as the U.S. coronavirus outbreak crossed a grim milestone of over 3 million confirmed cases, and as seven states reported record numbers of new infections.

In separate appearances, three U.S. Federal Reserve officials said the pace of the economic recovery may be stalling, though another, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, said on CNBC he felt many lost jobs will be regained by year’s end.

Global coronavirus cases exceeded 12 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally.

Investors will look to U.S. jobless claims on Thursday for the latest snapshot of U.S. recovery.

In China, inflation readings are on tap and expected to show factory-gate prices continued their declines in June.

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