HONG KONG (AFP): Asian markets mostly rose on Tuesday (Oct 26) following fresh records on Wall Street, with healthy corporate earnings overshadowing ongoing concerns about inflation, while progress in Washington on Joe Biden's big-spending economic plans also provided support.
However, a fresh virus outbreak in China, which has left tens of thousands of people in lockdown, revived concerns about the world's number two economy and authorities' zero-Covid policies.
The S&P 500 and Dow both ended at new peaks, with tech firms lifted by a surge in electric car maker Tesla to the trillion-dollar mark ahead of the release of profit reports this week from business titans including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter.
Facebook became the latest firm to unveil bumper earnings, posting a US$9 billion profit in the third quarter, reinforcing optimism on trading floors following a string of reports that have seen upbeat commentary on consumer demand.
Tokyo led gains, piling on 1.8 per cent in the morning while Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Wellington, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta also rose.
Hong Kong edged slightly lower and Singapore dropped.
There was little major reaction to news that developer Modern Land had missed a bond payment in the latest sign of stress in China's property sector, with focus on an upcoming deadline for China Evergrande.
Developments in Washington are being closely followed after Biden said Monday he hoped Democrats would strike a deal on two massive spending packages this week.
Both wings of his party have for weeks been haggling over a social spending bill expected to cost a little less than $2 trillion and an infrastructure bill worth $1.2 trillion.
He said talks with one of the main obstacles to agreement, moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, "went well". But there is concern that progressives in the House of Representatives who want more spending could now pose a threat to the plan.
House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth warned the chances of getting a framework together by the end of the week -- when Biden heads off for European summits -- were slim, saying: "I wouldn't bet my grandson on that."
The European Central Bank holds its latest policy meeting on Thursday, with traders looking for an idea about its plans for monetary policy in light of surging global inflation.
The gathering comes as financial chiefs around the world begin to remove the ultra-loose measures put in place at the start of the pandemic, with the Bank of England tipped to lift interest rates this year, following moves by South Korea and New Zealand among others.
The Federal Reserve has said it will begin winding down its bond-buying programme within the next two months, and some observers have forecast that could come as soon as November. Meanwhile, there is a growing expectation the Fed will raise borrowing costs in mid-2022.