Asian shares hit a record high after Yellen calls for big spending

Asian shares hit a record high after Yellen calls for big spending

Asian shares climbed to a record high on Wednesday 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 are greater than the expenses of a higher debt burden.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn into office on Wednesday, last week laid out a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal to boost the economy and speed up the distribution of vaccines.

“There will be a large-scale fiscal spending. The Fed is seeking to achieve two percent inflation and full employment, which still look distant, so it will keep interest rates low for some time and market sentiment should remain robust,” said Yoshinori Shigemi, macro strategist at Fidelity International.

MSCI’s Asia-Pacific index outside Japan rose 0.95%, reaching its highest level ever.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.0% to approach its 2019 peak while Australian shares added 0.6% to reach an all-time high. Japan’s Nikkei 225, however, slipped 0.45% on profit-taking.

The U.S. Nasdaq futures gained 0.4%, with Netflix hares jumping 12.6% after the bell as the streaming pioneer reported strong growth in subscribers and projected it will no longer need to raise debt.

Mainland Chinese stocks were down by the early morning. The Shanghai Composite was down by 0.14% to 3,56741. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up about 0.70% to 29,862.00.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average. Nikkei 225 is trading down 0.48 per cent at 28,517.00 on Wednesday, while the broader TOPIX  100 fell 0.56 per cent to 1,205.88. South Korea’s Kospi was up by 0.57% to 3110.75.

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