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Associated Press

Asian markets rise as earnings optimism outweighs COVID fears

Stocks surge in Hong Kong; Tokyo markets closed

Pedestrians with umbrellas cross a road in Hong Kong.

AFP via Getty Images

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BEIJING — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher Thursday for a second day as optimism about an economic recovery appeared to outweigh concern over rising coronavirus cases and inflation.

The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -0.68% rose 0.3% and the Hang Seng HSI, -1.45% in Hong Kong surged 1.7%. The Kospi 180721, +0.13% in Seoul added 1.1% and the S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.11% in Sydney rose 0.9%. Stocks gained in Singapore STI, -0.07%, Taiwan Y9999, +0.00% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.58%.

Tokyo markets were closed for a public holiday.

Overnight, Wall Street’s S&P 500 index SPX, +1.01% rose 0.8%, putting it on pace for a weekly gain after rebounding from Monday’s 1.6% loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.68% gained 0.8% to 34,798 and the Nasdaq composite COMP, +1.04% added 0.9% to 14,631.95.

Investors are wavering between optimism about a global recovery and unease that it might be delayed by the spread of the virus’s more contagious delta variant. They also worry central bankers might feel pressure to tame rising inflation by rolling back easy credit.

“The delta variant remains an ever-present downside risk for the markets in the near-term,” said Craig Erlam of Oanda in a report, “but as long as inflation remains only a temporary problem, it also keeps central bank hawks at bay.”

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude CLU21, +0.36% lost 31 cents to $69.99 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.88 on Wednesday to $70.30. Brent crude BRNU21, +0.12%, used to price international oils, shed 35 cents to $71.88 per barrel in London. It advanced $2.88 the previous session to $72.23.

The dollar USDJPY, +0.36% declined to 110.14 yen from Wednesday’s 110.28 yen.

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