Asian Stocks Up, U.S. Congress Under Pressure to Reach Stimulus Deal By

© Reuters.

By Gina Lee – Asian stocks were mostly up on Wednesday morning, despite pressure mounting on the U.S. Congress to reach a consensus over the country’s latest stimulus package.

U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday that the goal is to strike a deal on legislation by the end of the week, but it remains to be seen whether Republicans and Democrats can reach an agreement on the package’s price tag.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and China are reported to be meeting via videoconference on August 15 to assess their phase one trade deal, as well as discuss mutual grievances.

Shana Sissel, chief investment officer at Spotlight Asset Group Inc., told Bloomberg that the outcome of the talks will be key for markets.

“China really hasn’t been able to meet their hurdles to be in compliance with phase one of the trade deal” because of COVID-19, and rhetoric on both sides is set to increase as the U.S. election nears, she added.

Meanwhile, there are almost 18.5 million COVID-19 cases globally as of August 5, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“Stocks aren’t cheap broadly speaking,” Michael Cuggino, president at Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds Inc., told Bloomberg.

“I would probably recommend some sort of consolidation, some sort of retracement because I think the values have just gotten over extended.”

China’s rose by 0.29% by 11:30 PM ET (4:30 AM GMT) while the was up 0.14%. The country reported slower growth in the service sector earlier in the day with a of 54.1 in July, compared to June’s 58.4 figure.

Japan’s was down 0.28% and South Korea’s jumped 1.01%

Down Under, the fell 0.48%. Queensland state closed its border with New South Wales on Wednesday, with other states also imposing restrictions as the country continues to fight a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Hong Kong’s gained 0.93%.

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