Asian shares climb, Tokyo gains on hopes for reopening

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A currency trader talks on the phone near the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020. Asian shares are mostly higher, with Tokyo stocks gaining on expectations that a pandemic state of emergency will be lifted for all of Japan. But shares fell in Hong Kong on Monday after police used tear gas to quell weekend protests over a proposed national security bill for the former British colony. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

TOKYO – Asian shares are mostly higher, with Tokyo stocks gaining on expectations that a pandemic state of emergency will be lifted for all of Japan.

But shares fell in Hong Kong on Monday after police used tear gas to quell weekend protests over a proposed national security bill for the former British colony.

U.S. markets will be closed for Memorial Day.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.5% in morning trading to 20,682.78. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6% to 1,981.92. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.4% to 5,572.30.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.2% to 22,659.62. The Shanghai Composite was little changed, edging 0.1% higher to 2,815.94.

The protests in Hong Kong, in response to legislation under discussion by China's National People's Congress, which is now meeting in Beijing, were the largest in months despite bans on large gathering meant to prevent spreading the coronavirus.

The revival of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests that rocked the city for much of 2019 raises the likelihood of more tensions between Beijing and Washington over China's efforts to exert more control over the semi-autonomous territory.

“With more riots in the street amid the knockdown effects of COVID-19 and a possible exodus of jobs from the city's financial center, surely things will get much worse before better," Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a commentary.