Global stocks rose ahead of Treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen’s confirmation hearing in Washington, where she will make the case for large-scale fiscal stimulus to cushion the economic blow from Covid-19.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 2.2 per cent in early trading in Asia on Tuesday to touch a 20-month high while South Korea’s Kospi added 2.3 per cent. Japan’s benchmark Topix climbed 0.6 per cent.
Prepared remarks obtained by the Financial Times show Ms Yellen will voice strong support for President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9tn relief package on Tuesday, arguing that “with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big”.
“In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time,” the former Federal Reserve chair will tell the Senate finance committee.
Futures for Wall Street’s S&P 500 were 0.5 per cent higher during Asian trading, with the US market set to resume trading on Tuesday following Martin Luther King Day. Futures for London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.6 per cent.
In Hong Kong, property developer stocks rose 2.5 per cent. Shares in China Evergrande added 10.5 per cent after the country’s largest real estate group redeemed a $2bn convertible bond early.
The Hang Seng is now up more than 8 per cent in the year to date, making it the best-performing big global stock benchmark in 2021.
Chinese investors have snapped up Hong Kong stocks at a searing pace this year, making a record $3.1bn in net purchases of shares on Monday via market link-ups with bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen.
In China, the CSI 300 index of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed stocks shed 0.3 per cent on Tuesday. Mainland Chinese shares rose on Monday following official data that showed the world’s second-biggest economy grew by more than expected in the fourth quarter.