Asian Markets Closing Report: Airline stocks jump as vaccine hopes again lift markets; Asia-Pacific shares mixed


Weizhen Tan 

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific shares were mixed by the close on Tuesday even as vaccine hopes once again lifted Wall Street to record highs. Airline stocks in the region got a boost.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.42% to close at 26,014.62, after touching a 52-week high on Monday. The Topix edged up 0.16% to 1,734.66.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.21% to close at 6,498.20. The bourse resumed trading on Tuesday after a nearly full-day trading halt Monday that it said was due to a software issue which created “inaccurate market data.”

Mainland Chinese stocks were subdued. The Shanghai composite edged down 0.21% to close at 3,339.90, while the Shenzhen component declined 0.85% to 13,732.52.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was above the flatline in the afternoon.

South Korea’s Kospi edged down 0.15% to 2,539.15.

Over in Singapore, the Straits Times index jumped nearly 1% in the afternoon. The country reported non-oil domestic exports that were far off expectations, falling 3.1% year-on-year, as compared to forecasts of a 5.7% rise, according to Reuters.

Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was almost flat.

.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI26014.62107.690.42
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI26415.0933.420.13
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006498.2013.900.21
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2539.15-3.88-0.15
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 10010052.75-3.35-0.03

That came after Pfizer and BioNTech announced last week that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective.

“Equity markets focused on the improving medium‑term growth implications, which appear to be brightening from H2 2021 onwards. Yet the current virus surge is stifling near-term growth prospects,” cautioned Felicity Emmett, a senior economist at ANZ, in a Tuesday note.

Outbreaks in the U.S. are still spiking, as the country added 1 million new cases of the virus in under a week. The country has now recorded more than 11 million Covid-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Airline stocks jump

Oil continues rising, copper prices hit a high

Oil prices were subdued in the afternoon of Asia hours after jumping 3% on Monday on the back of positive vaccine news. U.S. crude futures edged down 0.12% to $41.29 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude futures were up 0.16% to $43.89 per barrel.

Oil stocks in Australia, too, saw gains by the close. Santos rose 3.41%, Oil Search surged 4.26%, and Beach Energy rocketed past 6%.

Meanwhile, copper prices hit a 29-month high on Monday, according to Reuters. That reflected optimism around demand in China after the country reported better-than-expected factory output in October.