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Japan stocks soar 8% as US announces coronavirus stimulus deal

Stocks in Asia Pacific soared on Wednesday after a massive coronavirus stimulus bill was struck between the White House and Senate stateside.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan led gains among major markets in the region, adding 8.04% to close at 19,546.63 as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing gained 8.78%. The Topix index rose 6.87% to end its trading day at 1,424.62.

South Korea’s Kospi also saw robust gains as it jumped 5.89% to close at 1,704.76. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained about 3.4%, as of its final hour of trading.

Mainland Chinese stocks advanced on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 2.17% to about 2,781,59 while the Shenzhen composite rose 2.919% to approximately 1,714.86.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 jumped 5.54% to close at 4,998.10 as the sectors mostly rose, with the heavily weighted financial subindex gaining 8.67% as shares of major banks advanced.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 4.26%.

The moves in the region came as the White House and Senate reached a deal on a gigantic $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill early Wednesday stateside.

“At last we have a deal,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell . “In effect, this is a war-time level of investment into our nation.”

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged surged more than 11% to its best one-day percentage gain in 87 years, closing 2,112.98 points higher at 20,704.91. The S&P 500 rallied 9.4% to 2,447.33 for its best day since October 2008 while the Nasdaq Composite surged 8.1% to close at 7,417.86, its best day since March 13.

Meanwhile, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) — Wall Street’s preferred fear gauge, was last at 61.67. Last week, the VIX eclipsed its financial crisis high, closing at 82.69.

“The VIX index, a proxy for equity market volatility, sustains at an elevated level suggesting that underlying risk sentiment may stay cautious as investors remain wary on the pace of the infection spread with total confirmed Covid-19 cases exceeding 400,000 globally,” Zhu Huani, an economist at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note.

So far, more than 375,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus while at least 16,362 lives have been taken, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 101.472 after rising from levels below 100 last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.24 after touching an earlier low of 111.56. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6037 after seeing levels below $0.58 earlier this week.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures adding 2.14% to $27.73 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose 3.12% to $24.76 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Yun Li contributed to this report.

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