Coronavirus-Asia markets rise as United States agrees stimulus package

Countries around the world have gone into lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus bringing the global economy to a virtual standstill

Investors will be looking to see if the New Zealand stock market responds well to a US$2 trillion (NZ$3.42) stimulus United States lawmakers negotiated overnight to support businesses affected by coronavirus.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.7% with Australian shares jumping 3.4% and South Korean shares gaining 3.5%.

At 13:11 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1,491.90 points, or 8.02%, at 20,083.83, the S&P 500 was up 153.38 points, or 6.86%, at 2,390.78 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 394.84 points, or 5.76%, at 7,255.52.

Wall Street had staged a furious rally on Tuesday, with the Dow posting its best day since 1933, in wild swings that were last seen at the height of the global financial crisis.

Top aides to Republican President Donald Trump and senior Senate Republicans and Democrats said they had agreed on the unprecedented stimulus bill, which includes a $500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to $3,000 apiece to millions of US families.

Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy said he wanted House members to have at least 24 hours after the Senate vote to review the bill.

While the U.S. Federal Reserve's offer of unlimited bond-buying was not expected to mitigate on its own the devastating impact of the coronavirus, investors hoped it would help avert a global depression with the help of other rescue packages.

"Given the rapid succession of downgrades, we should likely expect more pain over the short term, as the situation in NY and California continues to deteriorate. They don't know what their future is going to be like, how are they going to pay the bills", Schumer added.

The biggest uncertainty is on how countries can slow the pandemic and how quickly they can lift various curbs on economic activity.

President Trump indicated Tuesday that he wants to accelerate the comeback, saying he wants the country "opened up and raring to go" by Easter.

In the currency market, the dollar slipped as a greenback liquidity crunch loosened slightly.

The Dow was recently up 1,151.59, or 5.6 percent, at 21,856.50.

In particular, its financial hub of New York City suffered another big increase in the number of infections, fuelling worries about a shortage of hospital beds.

On Wednesday the index closed up 1.7 per cent.

Hopes that an incoming $2 trillion USA fiscal stimulus will ease the economic devastation caused by virus lockdowns lifted world equity indexes for a second day after historic gains on Tuesday, but investors refrained from calling a bottom.

The market remained pressured by a flood of supply after Saudi Arabia started a price war earlier this month, a move that dealt a crushing blow to markets already reeling from the epidemic.

Brent crude was down 17 cents, or 0.6%, to $26.98 a barrel. Still on the month, the market is down 45%.



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