Shares climb


    TOKYO- Asian shares climbed to a record high on Wednesday as US Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen advocated for a hefty fiscal relief package to help the world’s largest economy ride out a pandemic-driven slump.

    At her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, she said the benefits of a big stimulus package are greater than the expenses of a higher debt burden.

    US President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn into office on Wednesday, last week laid out a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal to boost the economy and speed up the distribution of vaccines.

    “There will be a large-scale fiscal spending. The Fed is seeking to achieve two percent inflation and full employment, which still look distant, so it will keep interest rates low for some time and market sentiment should remain robust,” said Yoshinori Shigemi, macro strategist at Fidelity International.

    MSCI’s Asia-Pacific index outside Japan rose 0.95 percent, reaching its highest level ever.
    Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.0 percent to approach its 2019 peak while Australian shares added 0.6 percent to reach an all-time high. Japan’s Nikkei, however, slipped 0.45 percent on profit-taking.

    The US Nasdaq futures gained 0.4 percent, with Netflix shares jumping 12.6 percent after the bell as the streaming pioneer reported strong growth in subscribers and projected it will no longer need to raise debt.

    The results came after all three major Wall Street indexes posted solid gains on Tuesday.

    US President Donald Trump, in a farewell address released on Tuesday, touted his legacy and wished luck to the new administration even though he steered clear of acknowledging his successor by name.

    Biden will take office on Wednesday under unprecedented security measures after the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.