Asian Markets Rise On Coronavirus Vaccine, Stimulus Optimism

(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets, with the exception of Shanghai, are rising on Tuesday, tracking the overnight gains on Wall Street as positive results from trials of experimental COVID-19 vaccines helped ease worries about the spike in coronavirus cases worldwide. Expectations for stimulus packages in the U.S. and Europe also boosted investor sentiment.

Pfizer and BioNTech SE announced early positive data on their joint coronavirus vaccine candidate from a German phase 1/2 covid-19 vaccine study.

Separately, AstraZeneca, which is developing a cornoavirus vaccine in partnership with the University of Oxford, said that its vaccine showed promising immune response in the more than 1,000 patients involved in the phase 1 and phase 2 trials.

The Australian market is advancing, tracking the overnight gains on Wall Street as well as higher commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 61.30 points or 1.02 percent to 6,062.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index is up 63.60 points or 1.04 percent to 6,175.90. Australian stocks closed lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is down 0.2 percent, while Rio Tinto is edging up 0.1 percent and Fortescue Metals is advancing almost 1 percent.

BHP reported a 7 percent increase in fourth-quarter iron ore production from the year-ago period and said it expects its full-year 2021 iron-ore production on a 100 percent basis to be between 276 million tonnes and 286 million tonnes.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is rising more than 2 percent, Woodside Petroleum is adding almost 1 percent and Santos is up 0.6 percent after crude oil prices advanced overnight.

Santos said it will record non-cash impairment charges of up to A$800 million in its 2020 interim results following a coronavirus-induced slump in oil prices.

Oil Search reported a nearly 30 percent fall in second-quarter revenue from last year, reflecting a sharp decline in oil and gas prices.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.8 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is advancing more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are also higher after gold prices rose overnight. Newcrest Mining is higher by more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is adding 0.7 percent.

Queensland's work health and safety prosecutor has filed three charges against Dreamwork's parent company Ardent Leisure following the 2016 fatal Thunder River Rapids ride tragedy, with each charge carrying a maximum penalty of A$1.5 million. However, shares of Ardent Leisure are rising almost 3 percent. said its fourth-quarter profit surged 115 percent from last year. The online retailer's shares are declining almost 1 percent.

Downer EDI said it expects to report a full-year statutory net loss of A$150 million to A$160 million and also announced a A$400 million capital raising to bolster its balance sheet as well as buy the remaining shares in cleaning and catering firm Spotless. The engineering and services provider's shares are in a trading halt.

In economic news, members of the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy board acknowledged that the country's current economic struggles are its most severe downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, minutes from the central bank's July 7 meeting has revealed.

The members added that the economic downturn was not restricted to just Australia, as the whole world attempted to grapple with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.7029, compared to $0.6988 on Monday.

The Japanese market is rising.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 168.27 points or 0.74 percent to 22,885.75, after rising to a high of 22,892.20 earlier. Japanese shares closed little changed on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is rising more than 2 percent and Fast Retailing is advancing more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is advancing more than 1 percent and Advantest is up 0.6 percent, following the overnight gains by their U.S. counterparts.

The major exporters are mostly lower. Sony is rising more than 2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent, Canon is lower by almost 1 percent and Panasonic is down 0.4 percent.

In the financial sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing more than 2 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is lower by more than 1 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is lower by more than 2 percent and Honda is declining more than 1 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex is losing more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is down 0.1 percent even as crude oil prices rose overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Z Holdings and Sumco Corp are rising more than 5 percent each, while Screen Holdings and Daiichi Sankyo are higher by almost 5 percent each. M3 and Rakuten are gaining almost 4 percent each.

Conversely, Isuzu Motors is losing almost 4 percent, while Nippon Steel, Taiheiyo Cement, Obayashi Corp. and T&D Holdings are all lower by more than 3 percent each.

On the economic front, consumer prices in Japan were up 0.1 percent on year in June, in line with expectations and unchanged from the May reading. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, was unchanged on an annual basis compared to forecasts for a drop of 0.1 percent following the 0.2 percent decline in the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 107 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is rising more than 2 percent, while South Korea, New Zealand and Hong Kong are all advancing more than 1 percent each. Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia are also higher, while Shanghai is modestly lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Monday following positive results from trials of experimental COVID-19 vaccines by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and Pfizer and BioNTech. The positive news on the vaccine front came as some states continue to see spikes in coronavirus cases, with Florida reporting 12,523 new cases on Saturday, reflecting the fifth consecutive day the state reported more than new 10,000 infections.

The Dow inched up just 8.92 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 26,680.87, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq soared 263.90 points or 2.5 percent to 10,767.09 and the S&P 500 climbed 27.11 points or 0.8 percent to 3,251.84.

The major European markets ended mixed on Monday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.5 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.5 percent and the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Monday, as worries about energy demand outlook faded slightly on news about a potential coronavirus vaccine proving to be safe following an early-stage human trial. WTI crude for August rose $0.22 or about 0.5 percent to $40.81 a barrel.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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