Asian shares gain, cheered by US rally on hopes for stimulus

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A woman looks at screens showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. Asian shares advanced Friday, cheered by a modest rally on Wall Street and rising hopes for fresh stimulus for the U.S. economy.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

Asian shares advanced Friday, cheered by a modest rally on Wall Street and rising hopes for fresh stimulus for the U.S. economy.

Despite signs of a global economic rebound in the third quarter, worries remain the upturn may be running out of steam.

House Democrats said they are paring back their proposal for a new stimulus package in an attempt to jump-start negotiations with the Trump administration. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell have said the government’s top priority should be to provide affordable loans to small businesses and further support for millions of Americans still unemployed.

Paralyzing partisanship has prevented a Congressional renewal of aid, and the recent vacancy on the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg deepened the divide. The renewed optimism that the biggest economy might get another boost carried over into Friday's trading.

“This stimulus deal needs to go through," Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a commentary. “With the risks building up everywhere you look, it doesn’t seem to be a great time to be trying to pick the bottom of equity markets, but a stimulus relief bill will go a long way to nudging the market along."

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.6% to 23,219.41. Australia's S&P/ASS 200 gained 1.3% to 5,954.00, while South Korea's Kospi was up 0.5% at 2,283.47. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.4% to 23,394.24, and the Shanghai Composite edged less than 0.1% higher to 3,224.84.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 3,246.59 after swinging between a loss of 0.9% and a gain of 1.3%.

The market’s momentum has shifted with lightning speed recently, often changing direction by the hour.