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Asian Shares Shake Off U.S. Tax Worries

Asian Pacific shares edged up on Friday, as gains in China and the European Central Bank’s decision to maintain stimulus helped lift the shares. Investors largely ignored the possibility of a U.S. capital gains tax hike.

Despite its prediction of a strong rebound, the ECB’s decision to leave policy on hold came. The eurozone economy was forecasted to bounce back strongly from mid-year as COVID-19 infections were brought under control.

The U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration was seeking an increase in the capital gains tax to near 40%. Reports said that this was for wealthy individuals and almost double the current rate. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.94%.

In Asia, the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.3% on Friday, after early small losses. 

Chinese blue-chip shares advanced 0.93%, buoyed by consumer staples, health care, and financial firms. China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component rose 0.49% and 0.69%, respectively. 

Seoul’s KOSPI climbed 0.10%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index crept 1.15% higher.

By 10:37 PM ET (2:37 AM GMT), Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.74%. The government was preparing to declare a COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo prefectures from Apr. 25 to May 11. 

As part of the latest measures, establishments serving alcohol or karaoke equipment and commercial facilities with floor space of 1,000 square meters and over will be asked to close. 

In Australia, the ASX 200 slid 0.15%. 

Asian Stocks Went up Then Steadied

 

Asia Pacific stocks mostly rose on Friday morning and then steadied after broad-based declines in their U.S. counterparts. Some investors were digesting the U.S. proposal for higher taxes to fund their latest social plan.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposal on almost doubling the tax on capital gains was for those earning more than $1 million a year.

Investors are also monitoring the ongoing earnings season and the latest batch of mixed results. AT&T Inc. beat earnings estimates with shares jumping on Thursday. 

Intel Corporation reported declines in both data-center revenue and gross profit margins. Consequently, shares in the biggest chipmaker globally inched down after the close of the previous session.                                                                    

However, growing numbers of coronavirus cases globally are still dampening investor sentiment. Moreover, on Thursday, India hit a fresh global record of 314,835 COVID-19 cases.

Several countries have restricted the number of flights from India, Singapore, the UAE, and Australia.

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