Mainland China stocks posted strong gains Monday as trading resumed following a week of heavy losses, against a backdrop of reports from Chinese authorities pointing to declining numbers of new COVID-19 cases and virus-related deaths.
For the Asian trading day, the Shanghai composite stock index rebounded 3.2% while the Shenzhen composite jumped 3.8%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, meanwhile, climbed 0.6%.
The rebound — for stocks of companies at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak — could prove a hopeful sign for global markets that continued to fall Friday amid fears the outbreak is spreading globally.
Wall Street tumbled 12% over the past week amid fears the virus was poised to spread in the U.S.
By contrast, on Monday, China's National Health Commission reported only 202 new cases confirmed over the previous 24 hours, down from 573 the day before and below figures of well over 1,000 two weeks before. Meanwhile, the commission reported 42 new virus-related deaths, up from 35 the day before but down from 47 the day before that.
Other markets in Asia opening the week on an upswing included Tokyo, up 1%; Seoul, up 0.8%; and Singapore, which finished the day 0.3% higher.
But markets that continued to drift lower Monday included Sydney, down -0.8%; Jakarta, down -1%; and Kuala Lumpur, down -0.8%.
China is one target now for asset owners looking to diversify portfolios that have been heavily weighted toward U.S. stocks, said Paul Sandhu, BNP Paribas Asset Management's head of multiasset quant solutions and client advisory for APAC, in an interview.
Volatility looks set to continue so there may be opportunities going forward to buy in at lower levels, Mr. Sandhu said. But in coming downturns "a lot of investors (will be) looking to reposition themselves in a more diversified manner," with Asia — and China in particular — among the likely beneficiaries.