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Asian stock markets post conservative gains: live updates


Asian markets are advancing slightly as investors seek positive news.

Asian markets rose on Monday as investors looked for signs that the epidemic was peaking in some of the most affected places in the world.

The markets of Japan and South Korea were trading more than 2% at midday, although other indices in the region rose more modestly. Futures markets predicted that Europe and Wall Street would also open higher.

The coronavirus is showing little sign of loosening globally, but investors have taken inspiration from authorities in some places, suggesting that their outbreaks may peak. New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said on Saturday that the epidemic could reach its worst point in the coming days. Other officials in the United States have suggested that the epidemic is peaking in some places, while it has broken out in others.

Other markets have improved, but investor optimism has been held back. Prices for US Treasury bonds have fallen in Asian trading, as have gold futures, another traditional safe haven for investments. But the price of oil, which generally rises on good economic news, has plummeted amid continued spitting on supplies between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index was up 2.6% at noon. The South Korea Kospi index rose 2.4%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 1.2%. Taiwans Taiex increased 0.9%.

The OPEC meeting is delayed because tensions are resurfacing between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

As Saudi Arabia and Russia fight over who is to blame for the collapse of oil prices in the coronavirus epidemic, the two countries were scheduled to meet with other major oil producers on Monday to ease the turmoil over energy markets. But the meeting is now over.

The meeting between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other petroleum producers has never been officially announced, but was widely reported on Friday, and its cancellation, confirmed by two OPEC delegates, could affect world markets when trade resumes on Monday.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, demand for oil has dropped sharply. OPEC-led Saudi Arabia had proposed an agreement that would reduce oil production, but Russia refused to accept it. More recently, the Saudis have increased their production while offering discounts to customers.

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin said on Friday that Saudi Arabia was at least partly responsible for the price cuts, while the Saudis accused Russia. The two OPEC delegates said further discussions were needed before the two sides could agree to a meeting.

What we know about how the Fed plans to spend its new pot of money.

Congress has $ 454 billion has been allocated to Federal Reserve programs to maintain credit to businesses, states and local governments, which could help it postpone the worst-case scenario for the US economy.

In times of crisis, the Fed can lend more or less directly to businesses and governments using its emergency authorities. The Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, must approve the programs and the Treasury department supports the programs with a layer of funding intended to absorb the losses.

The actions of central banks to date, taken when the Treasury had far less money to back up, offer a glimpse of how it could use the new credits.

For individuals: Indirectly. The Fed deploys one loan program which gives eligible businesses cheap loans in exchange for asset-backed securities, basically bundles of debt built on newly issued credit card debt, student loans, auto loans and more. By creating a great incentive, the program should make loans available and cheaper for consumers.

For small businesses: The main support for small businesses comes from the Small Business Administration, but the Fed also takes bundles of business loans as collateral for loans, which could help small businesses access financing. And the Main Street central bank business lending program, so far lacking in detail, should help businesses that are too large to qualify for small business loans but too small to have easy access to capital markets.

For large companies: The Fed has unveiled several programs to help. One will support a type of short-term financing known as commercial paper, and another will buy corporate debt. A third program will buy newly issued debt or provide direct business loans.

For local governments: The Fed unveiled programs to assist municipal bond markets by allowing banks to use certain types of local debt as collateral to access loans. But the authorities have stopped buying local debt and many lawmakers are urging them to think bigger.

Jeanna Smialek, Stanley Reed, Carlos Tejada and Daniel Victor contributed to this report.

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