Asian shares track worldwide rally as S&P 500 nears record

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People wearing face masks stand by a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Shares advanced across Asia on Tuesday after Wall Street closed broadly higher on encouraging economic reports, starting off August by closing within 3% of the record high it set in February. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

TOKYO – Shares advanced across Asia on Tuesday after Wall Street closed broadly higher on encouraging economic reports, starting off August by closing within 3% of the record high it set in February.

Investors appear to be shrugging off surging coronavirus caseloads in dozens of countries.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 1.4% to 22,505.83 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.7% to 24,637.24. Sydney's S&P ASX 200 jumped 1.6% to 6,022.50 and the Kospi in Seoul picked up 1.1% to 2,275.84. The Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% higher to 3,372.76.

Overnight, the S&P 500 added another 0.7% onto its four-month winning streak, closing within 3% of the record high it set in February, at 3,294.61.

Big Tech led the way higher again, and Microsoft and Apple alone accounted for most of the S&P 500′s gain.

The rally followed reports showing that manufacturing has improved across much of the world, including in China, Europe and the United States. With the total caseload rising by less than 50,000 for two straight days, investors bet that U.S. outbreaks might be moderating, said Jeffrey Halley of Oanda.

“Hopes rose that the U.S. might avoid a deeper recession, which was all financial markets needed to send equity markets higher, and for the U.S. dollar to continue recovering some of its recent losses," Halley said in a commentary.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.9% to 26,664.40, while gains for tech stocks, particularly Microsoft and Apple, pushed the Nasdaq composite 1.5% higher, to 10,902.80, another record.