Asia Markets

Asia stocks mostly higher as hopes rise on economies reopening

Key Points
  • Shares in Asia mostly rose on Monday.
  • Investors continued to watch for developments on the coronavirus front amid hopes of global economies reopening as social distancing measures are eased.
  • Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the unemployment rate stateside may have already reached 25% as the administration seeks to reopen the country's economy.

Stocks in Asia mostly rose on Monday as hopes rise on economies reopening, even as U.S. reported record job losses in April.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.05% to close at 20,390.66 while the Topix index gained 1.53% to finish its trading day at 1,480.62.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index also saw robust gains as it rose 1.42%, as of its final hour of trading. The Straits Times index in Singapore advanced 0.37% in afternoon trade.

Mainland Chinese shares, however, edged lower on the day. The Shanghai composite was fractionally lower at around 2,894.80 while the Shenzhen composite dipped 0.245% at approximately 1,804.74. South Korea's Kospi also dipped 0.54% to end its trading day at 1,935.40.

Meanwhile the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 1.3% higher at 5,461.20.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan gained 0.79%.

Investors continued to watch for developments on the coronavirus front amid hopes of global economies reopening as social distancing measures are eased. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined over the weekend a "conditional plan" to slowly reopen society and the economy. Disney also reopened its Disneyland theme park in Shanghai on Monday.

VIDEO3:1203:12
No hugs with Mickey: Shanghai Disneyland reopens with social distancing measures

Still, caution likely remained. South Korea warned on Sunday of a potential second wave of cases, according to Reuters. That came days after the country, praised for its rapid response to stem the spread of an initial outbreak, eased restrictions.

"I think it's pretty clear that if you open too fast, it's going to have significant consequences," Michael Yoshikami, founder and CEO of Destination Wealth Management, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday. "I think there is going to be a reckoning that people realize that we really are making a trade off and the question that has to be asked: Is that trade off really worth it?"

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin warned that the jobless numbers could "get worse before they get better." He said Sunday that the unemployment rate stateside may have already reached 25% as the administration seeks to reopen the country's economy. Mnuchin's comments came after the U.S. on Friday reported a record 20.5 million job losses in April.

Globally, more than 4 million people have been infected while at least 282,553 lives have been taken, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.761 after seeing levels above 100 last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.16 per dollar after weakening from levels below 106.2 last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at 0.6535 after rising from levels below $0.64 in the previous trading week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.23% to $30.59 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 1.33% to $24.41 per barrel.