Hong Kong: Asian and European markets rose Thursday following another strong day for Wall Street as traders buy into optimism that the coronavirus crisis could be nearing its apex, while crude extended gains on hopes top producers will agree to a massive output cut.
Despite news that thousands more people had died of covid-19 around the world, the slowing rate of new infections is providing some much-needed buoyancy to equities as investors eye an easing of lockdown restrictions that have strangled the global economy.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Washington are discussing further possible stimulus measures of around $500 billion for struggling US firms, with Republicans and Democrats looking to work together in a rare sign of unity.
While nearly 2,000 Americans died of the disease Wednesday, Donald Trump adviser Anthony Fauci said there could be a turnaround in the battle as soon as next week.
Citing a slowdown in hospitalisations owing to stay-at-home orders, Andrew Cuomo, governor of US hotspot New York state, told reporters: "We are flattening the curve."
That optimism was shared by Trump, who said the US was "hopefully heading towards a final stretch, the light at the end of the tunnel".
Vice President Mike Pence added: "We're beginning to see glimmers of hope."
The upbeat tone sent all three main indexes on Wall Street surging and the gains extended into Asia again.
Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul rose more than one percent apiece, Sydney and Mumbai each jumped more than three percent and Bangkok climbed more than two percent.
Shanghai added 0.4 percent but Tokyo was barely moved while there were small losses in Taipei and Wellington.
London, Paris and Frankfurt all rose more than one percent in early trade.
"Signs that the number of new daily coronavirus cases is plateauing is driving expectations that social distancing measures will be lifted soon in parts of the world," said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp....