Shares post gains

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    HONG KONG/NEW YORK- Asia extended the global rally in stocks on Tuesday as a halt in a recent bond markets sell-off eased investor nerves and lifted riskier assets, although oil prices were on the defensive on fears of slowing Chinese energy consumption.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan firmed 0.97 percent while Japan’s Nikkei was slightly down 0.12 percent.

    Australian shares continued their climb on Tuesday, with S&P/ASX 200 index rising as much as 1.05 percent, its highest since Feb. 19, as a rollout of another vaccine in the United States and optimism over a coronavirus relief package boosted hopes of a quicker global economic recovery.

    Chinese blue-chips gained 0.58 percent in early trade while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.9 percent, helped by steady and robust demand from investors in mainland China for shares in the Asian financial hub.

    China will begins its annual session of parliament on Friday in Beijing, which is expected to chart a course for economic recovery and unveil a five-year plan to fend off stagnation.

    US stocks rallied overnight, with the S&P 500 posting its best day in nearly nine months, as bond markets calmed after a month-long selloff.

    For now, all eyes will be on Australia’s central bank, which holds its monthly policy meeting on Tuesday. Analysts expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to hold key rates at a historic low but focus will shift to commentary about its quantitative easing program. – Reuters