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