Asia-Pacific shares mostly rise as vaccine hopes again lift markets

  • In Australia, the bourse resumed trading on Tuesday after a nearly full-day trading halt Monday due to a software issue.
  • Wall Street was buoyed to record highs after Moderna said preliminary phase three trial data shows its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19.

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific shares were mostly in positive territory on Tuesday as vaccine hopes once again lifted Wall Street to record highs.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.42%, after touching a 52-week high on Monday. The Topix was above the flatline in early trade.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.44%. 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."

South Korea's Kospi was flat.

Overall, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.11%.

Wall Street was buoyed to record highs after Moderna said preliminary phase three trial data shows its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 470.63 points, or 1.6%, to close at 29,950.44. The 30-stock Dow logged intraday and closing record highs. The S&P 500 climbed 1.2% to 3,626.91, posting an all-time closing high. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.8% to 11,924.13.

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 continues rising, copper prices boosted

Oil prices edged up in the morning of Asia hours after jumping 3% on Monday on the back of positive vaccine news. U.S. crude futures rose 0.17% to $41.41 per barrel.

Oil stocks in Australia, too, jumped in the morning. Santos rose 3.41%, Oil Search surged 4.65%, and Beach Energy rocketed 4.49%.

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.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was trading at 92.642, edging up from levels above 92.5 earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.46 against the greenback, a touch firmer as compared to Monday. The Australian dollar was at 0.7319 against the dollar, strengthening from the 0.72 mark yesterday.

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