Asian shares advance after Wall St rally; gold extends gains

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A woman wearing a face mask stands beneath a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Shares advanced in Asia on Tuesday after U.S. stocks resumed their upward march on Wall Street, while the price of gold pushed to nearly $1,970 per ounce. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

BEIJING – Shares advanced in Asia on Tuesday after U.S. stocks resumed their upward march on Wall Street, while the price of gold pushed to nearly $1,970 per ounce.

Benchmarks climbed in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai after the S&P 500 rose 0.7% overnight.

Much attention will be focused on a two-day meeting for the Federal Reserve that begins Tuesday, while hopes for more help for the American economy are rising as Congress debates another stimulus package.

The closure of the U.S. Consulate in western China's Chengdu, following the shutdown of China's consulate in Houston, Texas, highlighted antagonisms between Washington and Beijing that are adding to jitters at a time when the coronavirus pandemic appears to be regaining its grip in parts of Asia, including Hong Kong, Japan and Vietnam.

Such “acute geo-political uncertainties and socio-political strains all align with preference for a currency-like, safe-haven hard asset such as gold at the expense of the U.S. dollar," Hayaki Narita of Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.

The price of gold jumped $38.80 to $1,969.80 an ounce early Tuesday, up 2% to another record high.

It’s unusual for the price of gold, which tends to rise when worries about the economy are high, to do so well at the same as stocks, which tend to wilt under such worries. But massive amounts of pandemic-fighting stimulus have flooded markets with ample supplies of cash seeking the highest possible returns.

Share prices advanced across the region, with Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index up 0.3% to 22,792.76 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong adding 1% to 24,844.54. The Shanghai Composite index surged 1.1% to 3,241.44 and the S&P ASX/200 in Sydney gained 0.7% to 6,083.50.