Asian shares rise on optimism about Trump’s recovery

TOKYO (AP) — Shares rose yesterday in Asia as investors were encouraged by positive reports about United States (US) President Donald Trump’s health after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump briefly ventured out in a motorcade on Sunday to salute cheering supporters. Trump’s medical team reported that his blood oxygen level had dropped twice in recent days, and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick. They also said his health is improving.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.2 per cent to 23,316.08. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.3 per cent to 2,356.80, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 surged 2.4 per cent to 5,932.40. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.5 per cent to 23,801.97. Markets are closed in Shanghai until Friday.

Axi’s Chief Global Market Strategist Stephen Innes said global markets were focussed on Trump’s recovery.

“It is difficult to look beyond the trajectory of US President Trump’s illness in mapping out the contours of price action in the week ahead,” he said in a report.

“By reducing uncertainty around a possible delay to the US presidential election, the initial market reaction should be positive for risk assets, with US equities and oil prices, for example, reversing Friday’s declines,” Innes said.

A woman walks past the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AP

Fujitsu’s President Takahito Tokita apologised yesterday for the breakdown last week in the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s trading system, which the Japanese company had developed.

The mechanical failure caused all trading to be halted in Tokyo on October 1. It was fixed, and trading on the world’s third largest equity market resumed the following day.

Speaking at an online Webinar for a digital transformation at Fujitsu, Tokita promised to work with the exchange to prevent a recurrence of the malfunction in the vast Arrowhead system.

“We have caused great trouble, and we apologise from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.

Last Friday, the S&P 500 slumped 1.7 per cent as soon as trading began, only to churn through another turbulent session.

By the end of the day, it had trimmed its loss to one per cent, closing at 3,348.42. Despite the drop, most of the stocks in the index were higher.

The paring of losses on Wall Street late last week came as optimism rose that Washington may be able to get past its partisanship to deliver more support for the economy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told airlines aid for them is imminent. She said a wider rescue package for the economy could also perhaps be on the way.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 27,682.81, down 0.5 per cent.

Trump’s positive COVID-19 test highlights the continued spread of the pandemic.

The potential for outbreaks to escalate as cold weather forces people indoors is raising worries that governments may put some more restrictions on businesses. In energy trading, benchmark US crude rose USD0.89 to USD37.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

It fell USD1.67 to USD37.05 last Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained USD0.83 to USD40.10 a barrel.

The US dollar inched up to JPY105.55 from JPY105.34. The euro cost USD1.1733, up from USD1.1717.