By Gina Lee
Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were up Friday morning after the U.S. released solid economic data. U.S. President Joe Biden also reportedly plans to propose a $6 trillion budget for the 2022 fiscal year.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.20% by 11:25 PM ET (3:25 AM GMT). The country plans to extend its current COVID-19 state of emergency that covers eight prefectures, including Tokyo. If implemented, the state of emergency will be extended to June 20, a month before the Tokyo Olympic Games are due to begin.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.68%, with the city passing a bill to amend its electoral systems on Thursday.
China’s Shanghai Composite inched up 0.01% and the Shenzhen Component inched up 0.04%.
Biden will reportedly propose the budget in the coming fiscal year later in the day.
“The White House has decided to release what is arguably the most important policy document of the year on a Friday afternoon before a three-day weekend at the start of a congressional recess, when it is likely to receive little attention, rather than the traditional Monday morning release when Congress is in session,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) analysts said in a note.
Investors have already been worried that the scale of stimulus measures will lead to inflation, which eventually forces the Fed to taper asset purchases and tighten lending rates faster than expected. However, more spending will help world growth, global equities increase, and investors’ confidence, according to Kyle Rodda, a market analyst at IG.
“This is a market that’s blown off a little bit of froth over the last three weeks, but there’s nothing that’s occurred to suggest that the bull market in stocks is under any imminent threat… maybe momentum has slowed down, and that could remain the case for a little while, but the bull market is still pretty strong,” Rodda told Reuters.
On the data front, U.S. data released on Thursday said GDP increased by 6.4% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter of 2021, the same as the previous quarter but slightly below the 6.5% growth in forecasts prepared by Investing.com.
Other data released on the same day included Initial Jobless Claims, which fell to a 14-month low of 406,000 during the past week. April’s Pending Home Sales, which contracted 4.4% month-on-month, was below forecasts prepared by Investing.com and March’s 1.7% growth.
The continuous economic recovery from COVID-19 boosted investors’ sentiment and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s insistence that the central bank will not hike interest rate faster than expected also eased investors’ concerns.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also said on Thursday that price pressures will be transitory, although inflation is likely to persist through the end of 2021 before fading.
“My judgment right now is the recent inflation we’ve seen will be temporary, it’s not something that’s endemic…I expect it to last, however, for several more months, and to see high annual rates of inflation through the end of this year,” said Yellen.
On the COVID-19 front, investors are hoping that the accelerating vaccination rates will help ease a recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in several countries.
Asian Stocks Up as Investors Gain Confidence from Solid U.S. Economic Data
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