Asian stocks advance on vaccine, stimulus optimism

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A man walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at the stock exchange in Hong Kong Monday, March 29, 2021. Asian stocks rose Monday after Wall Street hit a new high and investors were encouraged by government stimulus and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

BEIJING – Asian stocks rose Monday after Wall Street hit a new high and investors were encouraged by government stimulus and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul advanced.

Wall Street’s advance Friday was led by stocks that would benefit if vaccinations and government spending boost the U.S. economy as much as expected.

Vaccines and stimulus have “helped to create an aura of high optimism,” John Bilton of JP Morgan Asset Management said in a report. He said “above-trend global growth” should last into 2022 and regions such as Europe that are at “peak pessimism” due to vaccine delays should accelerate later this year.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7% to 3,443.55 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 1.1% to 29,484.57. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.3% to 28,437.46.

The Kospi in Seoul was up less than 0.1% at 3,043.55 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.2% to 6,808.20. New Zealand an

d Southeast Asian markets advanced.

Markets have been swinging between optimism that vaccines might allow business and travel to return to normal and anxiety over setbacks in distribution and concern about possible inflation after massive government stimulus.