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James Hyerczyk
Asian Stock Indexes

Most of the focus was on Hong Kong where listed shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Alibaba surged following the reappearance of founder Jack Ma.

Asian shares were supported early as U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen advocated for a hefty fiscal relief package to help the world’s largest economy ride out a pandemic-driven slump. At her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, she said the benefits of a big stimulus package to help the world’s largest economy ride out a pandemic-driven slump.

Cash Market Performance

In the cash market on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 28523.26, down 110.20 or -0.38%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 29962.47, up 320.19 or +1.08% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3114.55, up 21.89 or +0.71%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3583.09, up 16.71 or +0.47% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6770.40, up 27.80 or +0.41%.

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Hong Kong Shares End at Over 20-Month High on Tech Boost

Hong Kong shares ended at their highest level in more than 20 months on Wednesday, extending gains for the fifth straight session boosted by gains in tech stocks. The IT sector sub-index led the gains by rising 5.47%, with the heavyweight Alibaba Group recorded the best intraday gain in more than six months.

Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma made his first public appearance since October, as he spoke to a group of teachers by video, easing concerns about his unusual absence from public life and boosting shares in the e-commerce giant.

South Korea’s Kia Says Looking at Electric Car Projects with Multiple Firms after Apple Report

In corporate developments, shares of South Korean automaker Kia Motors surged 5.04% after the firm said it is looking at electric car projects with multiple firms, Reuters reported citing a regulatory filing.

That development came after a local online publication reported that Kia’s parent Hyundai Motor Group had decided Kia would be in charge of the proposed cooperation with Cupertino-based tech giant Apple on electric cars, according to Reuters.

Australian Shares at Near 11-Month High as Yellen Backs More US Stimulus

Australian shares ended firmer on Wednesday, taking cues from overnight gains in Wall Street, on expectations that a $1.9 trillion U.S. stimulus package would come through, while optimism over domestic corporate earnings also lent support.

Auto parts seller RPM Automotive Group, not an index constituent, advanced as much as 35.9% after raising its 2021 revenue forecast by 44%, while Ansell also rose after the glove maker forecast exceeding its earlier sales outlook.

Morgan Stanley recently said the upgrade cycle for ASX200 stocks in calendar year 2021 was underway and saw some signs of an earnings revival to come through in the upcoming February earnings season, estimating high-single-digit earnings growth in fiscal 2021.

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