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Asian shares rise moderately as oil prices recover

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

A man wearing a mask against the spread of the new coronavirus walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Thursday, April 23, 2020. Asian shares rose moderately Thursday following a rally on Wall Street and even oil prices recovering from their recent plunge to zero. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

BEIJING – Asian shares rose moderately Thursday following a rally on Wall Street and even oil prices recovering from their recent plunge to zero.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.2% to 19,370.42 in morning trading, while South Korea’s Kospi rose 06% to 1,907.92. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also added 0.6% to 5,252.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.7% to 24,066.68, while the Shanghai Composite inched up 0.2% to 2,850.80.

Prakash Sakpal and Nicholas Mapa, economists at ING, said a rise in oil prices, which have been crashing, will help Asian shares somewhat.

“But rising Covid-19 cases in the region will likely cap any rally,” they said in a commentary.

Investors are still bracing for a severe, painfully deep recession after businesses shut down worldwide in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus. U.S. stocks were down by roughly a third a month ago on that expectation. Now, even as depressing economic and health reports pile up, some investors are looking ahead to the prospect of parts of the economy reopening as infections level off in some areas.

“Right now, it’s about the economy beginning to open, even at the margins,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “We’re watching Germany, the largest economy in Europe, begin to open. What this suggests is if things go well in these economies, we’re going to see more states begin to open, and perhaps open more broadly.”

The S&P 500 rose 62.75 points, or 2.3%, to 2,799.31 and trimmed its loss for the week to 2.6%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 456.94, or 2%, to 23,475.82, and the Nasdaq composite picked up 232.15, or 2.8%, to 8,495.38.