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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian share markets edge higher on pandemic recovery signals

Tue, 04th May 2021 07:05

* Asian stock markets: https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

* Global asset performance http://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn

* World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Scott Murdoch

HONG KONG, May 4 (Reuters) - Asian share markets were mostly
positive Tuesday as investors looked to signs of recovery from
the coronavirus pandemic as major economies around the world
reopen.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
was just 0.13% higher in the the Asian afternoon
session in trading thinned by holidays in China and Japan. Hong
Kong's Hang Seng Index was trading 0.33% higher at
28,441.95.

Australia's S&P/ASX200 edged up 0.44% to 7,059.4 as
the Reserve Bank met expectations and kept the official cash
rate target at 0.1%.

In a statement, the bank signalled the cash rate would stay
ultra low until least 2024 and upgraded its growth forecast for
the Australian economy from 3.5% to 4.75% over 2021.

In early futures trade, FTSE Index was pointing to a
0.3% gain at the open, Eurostoxx 50 futures were flat
and S&P 500 futures indicated a 0.24% decline for the US.

The mildly positive tone in Asia was broadly in line with
that on Wall Street overnight, where upbeat earnings, news of
cities reopening and a dovish Federal Reserve helped offset a
disappointing report on manufacturing activity.

While that combination is also causing investors to position
for stocks to defy the customary 'Sell in May' adage, they have
turned cautious ahead of key U.S. services data due on Wednesday
and non-farm payrolls numbers on Friday.

"Dovish tones from the Fed and an extraordinary fiscal
stimulus from the Biden Administration are fuelling optimism
that the U.S. economy will strengthen further during 2021," said
Stephen Koukoulas, managing director at the Canberra-based
Market Economics.

"Attention is also moving the U.S. payrolls data this Friday
where close to 1 million new payrolls and an unemployment rate
back down towards 5.6% is set to reinforce this upbeat
sentiment."

Taiwan was an exception in the Asian region, with stocks
there down by 1.7% after initially falling by up to
3.3% earlier in the day.

The index is up about 15% for the year, which ranks it as
one of the strongest performing markets in the region.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng's positive performance on
Tuesday came after the index shed nearly 1000 points over the
past two sessions.

"The 'Sell in May' story is taking place in Hong Kong, we
are not seeing investors chasing the market," Jack Siu, Credit
Suisse's greater China chief investment officer said.

"For the new economy stocks, there is a lack of interest
because there are concerns about what the new regulations will
be and what impact that will have on those companies. Those
uncertainties are putting investors on the sidelines."

Japan and mainland China's markets remained closed on
Tuesday for holidays dampening trading volumes across the
region.

Monday's session on Wall Street saw the Dow Jones Industrial
Average end 0.7% higher at 34,113.23 points, while the
S&P 500 gained 0.27% to 4,192.66 with most of the gains
concentrated in industrial and commodity shares.

The Nasdaq Composite dipped as technology stocks
lagged sectors investors saw as beneficiaries of a pandemic
recovery.

Energy stocks also gained on the back of higher oil prices.

Later in the Asian session, Brent crude was down
0.2% at $67.38 while U.S. light crude was off 0.31% at
$64.56. Both were trading higher after a positive lead from the
US overnight.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; additional reporting
by Roger Tung in Taipei; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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