Asian stocks ended a choppy session mixed on Tuesday as optimism over Moderna’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine was offset by worries about the continued surge in coronavirus cases worldwide.
Chinese shares ended a tad lower, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite ending down 7.07 points, or 0.21 percent, at 3,339.90. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index finished 0.13 percent higher at 26,415.09.
Japanese shares hit a fresh 29-year high as another promising Covid-19 vaccine development revived hopes of a swift global recovery. The Nikkei average rose 107.69 points, or 0.42 percent, to 26,014.62, its highest close since May 1991. The broader Topix index closed 0.16 percent higher at 1,734.66.
Travel-related stocks led the surge with ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines rising 4.2 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. In the tech space, Tokyo Electron rose 1.3 percent to a record high.
Australian markets ended modestly higher as trading on the exchange resumed without incident after a tech glitch in the previous session.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 13.90 points, or 0.21 percent, to 6,498.20, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 10.80 points, or 0.16 percent, at 6,697.80.
Beach Energy, Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum and Santos jumped 3-6 percent after crude oil prices surged overnight. BHP advanced 1.4 percent and Rio Tinto added 1 percent after solid Chinese factory activity data lifted iron ore prices.
The big four banks rose 1-3 percent. Gold miners Evolution Mining, Newcrest and Northern Star Resources fell 3-5 percent.
In economic news, minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s November 3 meeting revealed that members believe the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic was well underway, but would be protracted.
Australia is likely to see an extended period of higher unemployment due to the pandemic, Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe said Monday and added that addressing higher unemployment is an important national priority.
Seoul stocks fell on profit taking after hitting a nearly three-year high the previous day. The benchmark Kospi ended a choppy session down 3.88 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,539.15.
Tech stocks ended on a subdued note while auto and battery-related stocks rose on massive foreign buying. Korean Air Lines plunged 8.9 percent after its announcement to take over smaller rival Asiana Airlines.
New Zealand shares ended slightly higher, with the benchmark NZX 50 index ending up 20.11 points, or 0.16 percent, at 12,765.03. Among the top gainers, outdoor clothing retailer Kathmandu Holdings advanced 2.4 percent.
The service sector in New Zealand continued to expand in October, and at a faster rate, the latest survey from BusinessNZ revealed with a Performance of Service Index score of 51.4, up from 50.4 in September.
U.S. stocks rose overnight after Moderna declared an effective vaccine in tests in yet another breakthrough in the fight against coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 1.6 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 1.2 percent to reach fresh record closing highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8 percent.
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