BEIJING – Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Tuesday, lifted by moves to reopen many regional economies from shutdowns aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic.
Benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul but fell in Shanghai and Sydney. Jakarta’s main index jumped 2% and Singapore’s was up 1.2% as authorities were winding down some pandemic precautions.
The gains also tracked a modest advance on Wall Street overnight. Investors are balancing cautious optimism about the reopening of businesses shut down because of the pandemic against worries that widespread protests in the U.S. over police brutality could disrupt the economic recovery and widen the outbreak.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.9% in morning trading to 22,264.22 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.4% to 23,833.76. South Korea's Kospi added 0.8% to 2,082.37.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped a fraction of a percent to 5,817.90, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.2% to 2,911.17.
Hopes for a quick recovery from the worst global downturn since the 1930s have helped spur buying. But Robert Carnell, regional head of research for the Asia-Pacific region at ING, warned against too much optimism, given the tensions between the U.S. and China, unrest in Hong Kong and the U.S., and uncertainties over prospects for a vaccine or dependable treatments for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
“How long can markets remain buoyant?” he asked. “The honest answer, and one that may save you five minutes is, ‘I don’t know’ ”
The protests that have rocked American cities for days have so far not had much impact on financial markets. But the violence and damage to property may hinder the re-opening of the economy. Crowds gathering to protest injustice and racism also could touch off more outbreaks.