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Markets

Asian markets gain following Biden victory

Nikkei index surges 2% while Australia and South Korea also open higher

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average at one point surged over 500 points on Nov. 9. (Photo by Kai Fujii) 

TOKYO/HONG KONG -- Asian stock markets got off to a strong start on Monday after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the U.S. presidential election against President Donald Trump, lifting uncertainty surrounding the nail-biting 2020 contest.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average at one point surged over 600 points, or 2.6%, continuing to rise after reaching a 29-year high on Friday. The index closed up 514 points at 24,839, while the broader Topix index climbed 1.4%, with stocks rising across various sectors including information and technology, retail and electronics.

Shares for SoftBank Group jumped over 5%, while automakers also rose -- Honda Motor closed up 9% and Toyota Motor gained 2%.

The U.S. dollar weakened against the Japanese yen, trading at around 103.25 yen per dollar as investors poured money into risk assets on the view that Biden's win will lead to fewer regulatory changes and additional monetary stimulus.

China's CSI 300 Index of the most valuable shares traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen climbed 1.1% after touching its highest level since June 2015. The index is on course for sixth straight day of gains with all the companies with the highest weighting in the index climbing.

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index rose 1.2% to its highest level since July. Australia's equity benchmark, as well as South Korea's Kospi index surged more than 1.7%.

The stock rally comes as investors grow more comfortable risk-taking in the wake of President-elect Biden's win. Biden reached the 270 electoral votes required to claim the presidency after a narrow victory in the key battleground of Pennsylvania. He delivered a victory speech on Saturday, although Trump has not yet conceded the election.

With Biden's win, more investors are expecting the implementation of a fiscal stimulus package which could boost the pandemic-hit U.S. economy.

Yasuhiko Hirakawa, an investment manager at Rakuten Investment Management, points out that investors are now looking ahead to next year. "The market expects to see a recovery in the global economy and corporate earnings starting next year after the slump caused by the coronavirus," he said.

Goldman Sachs strategists Dominic Wilson and Vickie Chang wrote in an investor note: "While processing the U.S. election continues to be investors' primary focus, markets appear to have moved a long way towards pricing the outcome. Focus is likely to begin shifting back towards the vaccine and broader growth outlook, and the likely delivery of vaccine news is the next few weeks may be the next key event risk."

China also reported at the weekend that exports surged 11.4% in October, the highet monthly gain since March 2019. The growth was well above consensus.

In Hong Kong shares in New Oriental Education & Technology Group surged as much as 16.6% on their Hong Kong debut. The shares were trading at 1,325 Hong Kong dollar ($170.89) after opening at Hk$1,381.

New York listed New Oriental, which raised $1.3 billion in the secondary listing, is the first sizeable offering to start trading in the city after Ant Group's IPO was suspended at short notice last week.

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