Stocks across Asia-Pacific and US futures rose following reports Donald Trump could be discharged from hospital on Monday after the president’s Covid-19 diagnosis, as well as hopes for new stimulus measures.
Japan’s benchmark Topix index gained 1.9 per cent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 2.2 per cent in early trading on Monday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 2.5 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.1 per cent after traders returned from an extended holiday.
Chinese markets remain closed for a holiday.
Investors were emboldened by potential positive news on Mr Trump’s health and the prospect of new fiscal stimulus measures in Washington. The president’s medical team said he could be discharged from the Walter Reed military hospital as early as Monday despite receiving treatment reserved for severe Covid-19 cases.
Mr Trump and his wife Melania were diagnosed with coronavirus late last week, prompting a sell-off in global markets.
Meanwhile, Democratic speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told the CBS television network on Sunday that “we’re making progress” on a coronavirus support package to restore some of the expanded US unemployment benefits that were cut off at the end of July.
While Democrats in the House on Thursday passed a $2.2tn stimulus package, Republicans and the White House have signalled resistance to the scale of the bill. Mr Trump on Sunday issued a call via Twitter for negotiators to “work together” and complete a stimulus deal.
Stock futures for Wall Street’s S&P 500 rose 0.8 per cent while those for London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.9 per cent. US futures trading is often thin during Asian trading hours, potentially increasing volatility, but gains of close to 1 per cent are rare so far away from the opening bell in New York.
“The bigger catalyst for us today is the potential that the [stimulus] deal goes through,” said Andy Maynard, a trader at China Renaissance. “That is the thing that’s boosting people’s ability to put money to work”.
He added that volumes remained low with China’s stock exchanges still shut for much of the week.
Oil prices also rose with international benchmark Brent crude up 1.3 per cent to $39.77 a barrel. US marker West Texas Intermediate rose 1.6 per cent to $37.64 a barrel.