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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks rise more on hopes US measures will ease virus impact

AIA Group and Tencent Holdings fuel gains in A300 index

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan extended their advance on Wednesday amid bets that the fiscal and monetary policy support unveiled in the U.S. will help lessen the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Nikkei Asia300 index rose 4.4% to 1,094.77, adding to yesterday's 5.4% gain.

U.S. equities soared Tuesday, a day after the Federal Reserve took a series of additional steps to rescue the economy ravaged by the virus outbreak. The Fed said it will buy unlimited Treasury securities and introduced three facilities to help the flow of credit to consumers and businesses.

U.S. lawmakers are looking to augment the steps taken by the Fed to support the economy. The Senate and the White House on Wednesday reached a near $2 trillion stimulus package that would aid businesses hurt by the pandemic and provide cash assistance to Americans. The bill provides for direct payments to most Americans adults and children, create a lending program for companies, states, and cities, and extend to help small companies deal with payroll problems, The Washington Post reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied more than 11% yesterday and the S&P 500 Index climbed 9%.

"There is a lot of momentum behind this risk-on move, but the news on the virus front is getting worse and it seems a bit premature to cheer the massive U.S fiscal stimulus bill before it is finalized and all the details are revealed," said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at OANDA. "Volatility is likely to remain on overdrive and it will be difficult to imagine a scenario that will see equities further advance throughout the remainder of the week."

The Number of known cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. have surpassed 55,000, according to a database maintained by the John Hopkins University. Cases in the U.S. have surged by more than 40,000 in the last few days, prompting the World Health Organization to warn that the nation could be the new epicenter of the pandemic.

A300 heavyweights AIA Group and Tencent Holdings rose 6.6% and 4.1% on Wednesday. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing advanced 3.6%.

Chinese pork producer WH Group jumped 11.2% after the company reported a 32% surge in 2019 net profit.

Reliance Industries climbed 14.7% following report by the Financial Times that Facebook was eyeing a 10% stake in the Indian conglomerate's telecom unit.

India's benchmark equity index, the BSE Sensex, ended the day 7% higher after a choppy session. The country's Prime Minister yesterday announced a three-week nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

--Nimesh Vora

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