By Suzanne Barlyn

NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters)Asian stocks were set to rise on Tuesday as a renewed tech rally and fresh optimism that Washington would deliver a coronavirus relief package helped lift global equity markets.

Shares in Apple Inc AAPL.O surged 6.4% on Wall Street on Monday ahead of an expected debut of its latest iPhone on Tuesday, helping boost technology stocks, while Amazon AMZN.O rallied 4.8% ahead of its Prime Day shopping event this week.

CommSec Senior Economist Ryan Felsman said a COVID-19 resurgence in Europe and the United States is partly fueling the tech rally.

“Once again, there is a desire to hold the stay-at-home types of technology stocks…which will still generate profits and will be greatly oriented to a more challenging economic environment,” Felsman said.

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC on Monday staged its biggest one-day rally in a month, jumping 2.56%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 0.88% and the S&P 500 .SPX gained 1.64%.

The U.S. dollar was pinned near a three-week low and gold, another safe-haven asset, stayed below a three-week high, slapped by investor demand for risk. The U.S. bond market is closed on Monday for Columbus Day.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS closed 0.11% higher.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures YAPcm1 rose 1.05% in early trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures .HSIHSIc1 rose 0.11%.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 EScv1 rose 0.01%.

The dollar index =USD fell 0.078%, with the euro EUR= unchanged at $1.1813.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX rose 0.72% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.01%.

Bets that more U.S. stimulus was in the offing came despite signs that talks in Washington had stalled again, leading the Trump administration to call

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stocks were set to rise on Tuesday as a renewed tech rally and fresh optimism that Washington would deliver a coronavirus relief package helped lift global equity markets.

Shares in Apple Inc

surged 6.4% on Wall Street on Monday ahead of an expected debut of its latest iPhone on Tuesday, helping boost technology stocks, while Amazon

rallied 4.8% ahead of its Prime Day shopping event this week.

CommSec Senior Economist Ryan Felsman said a COVID-19 resurgence in Europe and the United States is partly fueling the tech rally.

“Once again, there is a desire to hold the stay-at-home types of technology stocks…which will still generate profits and will be greatly oriented to a more challenging economic environment,” Felsman said.

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> on Monday staged its biggest one-day rally in a month, jumping 2.56%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 0.88% and the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 1.64%.

The U.S. dollar was pinned near a three-week low and gold, another safe-haven asset, stayed below a three-week high, slapped by investor demand for risk. The U.S. bond market is closed on Monday for Columbus Day.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> closed 0.11% higher.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures

rose 1.05% in early trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures <.HSI>

rose 0.11%.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500

rose 0.01%.

The dollar index <=USD> fell 0.078%, with the euro

unchanged at $1.1813.
=>

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> rose 0.72% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.01%.

Bets that more U.S. stimulus was in the offing came despite signs that talks in Washington had stalled again, leading the Trump administration to call on Congress to pass a less ambitious coronavirus relief bill.

U.S.

(Bloomberg) — Investment in natural gas projects across the Middle East and North Africa will rise, even as the coronavirus pandemic damps demand for the fuel, according to Arab Petroleum Investments Corp.



a close up of a light pole: Iranian Petrochemicals Production at Pars Special Economic Energy Zone


© Bloomberg
Iranian Petrochemicals Production at Pars Special Economic Energy Zone

Gas projects planned or under development in the region will require around $211 billion in investment between 2020 and 2024, the multilateral lender said Monday in a statement. In its previous investment outlook, Apicorp estimated that spending would total $185 billion between 2019 and 2023.

Expansion of output in Qatar, the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, will account for $22 billion of planned investment, Saudi Arabia-based Apicorp said.

Middle Eastern states are lining up new gas projects while cutting oil-related investments, though the pandemic has battered prices for both fossil fuels. This is partly because governments are promoting the use of gas to produce electricity instead of crude, a more polluting alternative.

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The battle to secure LNG buyers will become “fiercer” over the next two or three years, and some producers may opt to consume more gas at home if global prices for LNG remain low, Apicorp’s Chief Economist, Leila Benali, said on Bloomberg TV.

“The key question is how you monetize the gas — whether you export it or consume it domestically,” Benali said. “A player should go where it can get the most monetization for the fuel that it’s producing.”

State-run companies and entities account for as much as 92% of investments in the region’s gas projects, according to Apicorp research.

(Updates with economist comments in fifth and sixth paragraphs.)

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If the Democrats sweep, they might seek to pass the original $3.4 trillion Heroes Act that cleared the House in May.


ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Sometimes the “why” is less important than the “what.” And that’s particularly true for investors right now.

Try explaining this: The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

advanced 904.09 points, or 3.3%, to 28,586.90 this past week, its second consecutive weekly gain, while the

S&P 500 index

rose 3.8%, to 3477.13, and the

Nasdaq Composite

gained 4.6%, to 11,579.94. Even more shocking, the small-company

Russell 2000

index climbed 6.4%, to 1637.55.

A possible stimulus package got much of the credit—and attention—this week, and there’s no doubt that the market would love to see a bill get passed. The Federal Reserve would too, as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell continued to call for the government to act sooner rather than later. But if it was all about stimulus, we suspect that the swings to the downside would have been larger when President Donald Trump said he was calling off negotiations, and the market wouldn’t simply have shrugged off every other misstep along the way.

Another possibility for the rapidly rising market: It’s looking ahead to a Blue Wave, which would see not only Joe Biden win the election, but Democrats hold the House of Representatives and take the Senate too. In that case, the stimulus might be even larger than a package now would be.

Jefferies economist Aneta Markowska, for instance, removed a stimulus package from her 2020 forecast two weeks ago and still doesn’t expect it to become law this year. She does, however, suspect that if the Democrats sweep, they will seek to pass the original

Stock markets rose Friday as news of progress on virus treatments boosted sentiment, following a bout of volatility over the prospects for a US stimulus package.

Observers said that with Democrats and Republicans about $600 billion apart in their stimulus proposals, there was little expectation a deal would be reached before the November 3 presidential election.

“Things are still up in the air when it comes to the relief package in the US,” noted David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

He added however that “the prospect of some form of stimulus in the US is trumping the health crisis” for stock markets.

And there has been some good news regarding coronavirus treatments.

Markets cheered a write-up in the New England Journal of Medicine reporting that Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir drug resulted in “consistent, clinically meaningful improvements” in coronavirus patients, the latest positive indicator about a leading treatment.

That news follows announcements by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly earlier in the week on Covid-19 therapies that have boosted confidence in effectiveness of the treatments for the virus.

The market is “being stimulated more this week by the realization that there just might be a widespread, effective COVID treatment regimen that gets approved soon,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick J. O’Hare.

“The gist is that, the more confidence there is in potential treatment plans, the more confidence there will be in a potential return to normal activity,” he added.

The Dow was 0.5 percent higher in late morning trading in New York, while the major European indices closed with small gains.

There is also growing expectation that Democrat Joe Biden will win the US election, with polls giving him big enough leads in battleground states that could prevent President Trump from challenging the result — a situation that would fan uncertainty.

With