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Asian stocks, oil higher as economies emerge from lockdown

Brent crude LCOc1 rose 4.3% to $28.37 a barrel, up for a sixth straight day, and U.S. crude CLc1 rose 1.38% to $21.77 a barrel, as countries began loosening coronavirus restrictions and crude supply cuts took effect.

“The market continues to price in the idea that things are improving,” said Gene McGillian, vice president of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

In reduced trade, with China, Japan and South Korea on holiday, Australia’s ASX 200 rose 1.26% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI climbed 0.66%.

U.S. stock futures ESc1 rose 0.75%.

The rally followed late U.S. gains with the S&P 500 SPX ending up 0.42%, driven by technology names including Microsoft, Apple, Amazon.

Their strength overcame drops in airline shares of between 5% to 8% after legendary investor Warren Buffett said his Berkshire Hathaway  had sold its carrier holdings.

The upturn came on more optimistic statements from the governors of California and New York for reopening businesses. Andrew Cuomo of New York on Monday outlined a phased reopening in the U.S. state hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Analysts at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said the structure of the oil price rises, with bigger gains in nearer-dated contracts, suggested expectations of more production cuts and a restoration of fuel demand later this year.

The optimism about an economic recovery from the coronavirus outbreak outweighed, at least briefly, the latest war of words between China and the United States, which had dragged down Asian and European shares on Monday.

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