HONG KONG/ TOKYO -- Asian stocks climbed from multiyear lows and U.S. equity futures climbed on Tuesday, bolstered by yet another Federal Reserve stimulus to ease borrowing costs and aid an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, where shares had been trading at their cheapest level based on their book value, closed 4.5% higher. The Shanghai Composite ended up 2.3% , and South Korea's Kospi index surged 8.6%. Australia's S&P/ASX200 index was 4.2% higher and Singapore's Strait Times Index was 5.8% higher. Dow futures climbed 5%. U.S. equities slid on Monday.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed at 18,092.35, up more than 1,204 points or 7.1%. Shares in SoftBank Group rose 21% to 3,856 yen a day after the group announced it would sell or cash in up to 4.5 trillion yen ($41 billion) in assets to buy back stock and reduce debt. The company finished trading Monday at 3,187 yen, up 500 yen from the previous trading day and the maximum allowable single-day gain.
The yen rose 0.6% against the dollar and is on course to log only its second gain in seven sessions.
The Fed offered to buy unlimited amounts of assets to steady markets and expanded its mandate to corporate and muni bonds. Analysts estimated the package could make $4 trillion or more in loans available to non-financial companies.
The focus now shifts to fiscal stimulus, which remains stalled in the U.S. Senate as Democrats argue the Republicans' bill favors big business and contains too little money for strapped hospitals. Another focus is on coming data that will illustrate the scale of the corona slump.
"The scale of monetary policy support, in all its guises ... is already going well beyond anything we saw during the global financial crisis," said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank in Sydney. "In the meantime Congress just failed for a second time to approve a near $2 trillion coronavirus economic support plan."
Investors will be apprehensive ahead of a slew of data that will indicate the virus's toll. Several flash surveys on European and U.S. manufacturing for March are due on Tuesday. Two days later, U.S. jobless numbers are out, and economists say the increase in new claims from last week could easily outstrip the 1 million mark.
The International Monetary Fund said it expects a global recession this year that will be at least as severe as the downturn that began with the financial crisis of 2008. It expects a recovery in 2021. Kristalina Georgieva, managing director at the fund, said in a statement that nearly 80 countries have asked the IMF for emergency financing.
Crude oil rose 6% but was still below $25 a barrel; gold climbed 1.6%.