Japan’s Nikkei at 30-year high after Trump OKs stimulus

AP – World stocks rose yesterday, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark hitting a 30-year high after United States (US) President Donald Trump signed a USD900 billion economic aid package.

Wall Street set fresh records on Monday after Trump opted not to veto the bill, helping to staunch uncertainty as governments reimpose pandemic-fighting travel and business curbs weighing on global economic activity.

Investors and economists have been pushing for the support for months. It combines USD900 billion in COVID-19 aid with a USD1.4 trillion spending bill and reams of other unfinished legislation on taxes, energy, education and healthcare.

The hope is that the measures will help tide the economy over until vaccinations can bring surging infections under control, allowing precautions to be relaxed and life to begin returning to normal.

Wall Street futures looked set for further gains, with the contract for the S&P 500 up 0.5 per cent while the future for the Dow industrials added 0.4 per cent.

People walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP

Germany’s DAX picked up 0.4 per cent to 13,848.41 and the CAC 40 in France climbed 0.4 per cent to 5,608.02. Britain’s FTSE 100 jumped 2.1 per cent to 6,642.12.

Trading is thinning as tumultuous 2020 draws to a close. But after nosediving in March as the pandemic took hold, share prices have more than recovered, helped by massive infusions of central bank cash and ultra-low interest rates, which make shares potentially more lucrative than other investments.

Investors have gained confidence with the rollouts of coronavirus vaccinations they hope will pave the way for a return to normal activity in coming months.

“It has been a mostly positive day for Asian markets, taking their cue from Wall Street,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “The buy everything recovery trade was back in evidence in Asia, with the US dollar easing, and precious metals and energy rallying.”

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.7 per cent to 27,568.15, the first time it has traded above 27,000 since August 1990, according to FactSet. The market hit its all-time peak close of 38,915.87 on December 29, 1989.

The benchmark was buoyed by strong gains in heavyweights like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which surged 4.6 per cent, apparel maker Fast Retailing, also up 4.6 per cent, and technology and energy company SoftBank, which gained 4.2 per cent.