Asian markets rise after Powell expresses confidence in recovery

Asian markets advanced in early trading Monday, as U.S. stock futures gained after comments from Fed chief Jerome Powell and crude oil prices rose toward a two-month high.

Japan’s Nikkei

gained 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

edged up 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite

rose 0.4% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite

inched up 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi

advanced 0.7% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200

gained 1.4%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan

, Singapore

and Indonesia

were mixed.

Data showed Monday that Japan sank into recession in the first quarter of 2020, and that the current quarter is expected to be worse. Japan’s economy shrank 3.4% year-over-year in the January-March period, according to the Wall Street Journal, after a 7.3% decline in the previous quarter due to a sales-tax increase. While that was not as bad as the 4.8% pullback expected by economists, the second quarter is expected to shrink by 20% or more, due to the coronavirus state of emergency imposed in April.

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp.

said Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has resigned from its board of…

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