Asian Shares Mostly Higher On Hopes For Vaccine

Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Wednesday as hopes of a successful coronavirus vaccine and receding U.S. political uncertainty helped offset worries about a surge in coronavirus cases worldwide.

Chinese shares ended lower after reports the government is seeking to curb the power of internet giants. The benchmark Shanghai CompositeIindex dropped 17.95 points, or 0.5 percent, to 3,342.20, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 74.50 points, or 0.3 percent, to 26,226.98.

Japanese shares rose for the seventh consecutive session and ended at a fresh 29-year high as hopes of a Covid-19 vaccine as well as upbeat company earnings reports outweighed concerns over rising infections globally.

The Nikkei 225 rallied 444.01 points, or 1.8 percent, to 25,349.60, marking its highest closing level since June 1991. The broader Topix closed 1.7 percent higher at 1,729.07.

Banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rose about 3 percent after an overnight jump in U.S. Treasury yields. Internet service provider DeNA soared 12.4 percent on upbeat half-year earnings.

ANA Holdings dropped 1.1 percent and Japan Airlines gave up 2.1 percent on profit taking after seeing big gains the previous day.

Australian markets rose for the fifth straight session, with financials and energy companies pacing the gainers. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 109.20 points, or 1.7 percent, to 6,449.70, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 107.10 points, or 1.6 percent, at 6,651.10.

Qantas Airways rose 1.4 percent, Sydney Airport Holdings rallied 2.4 percent and Webjet soared 4.1 percent on economic recovery hopes.

Santos, Beach Energy and Oil Search climbed 6-8 percent amid an ongoing rally in the oil market sparked by news of an effective Covid-19 vaccine.

Woodside Petroleum surged 6.3 percent. The company reaffirmed that its Scarborough and Pluto Train 2 liquefied natural gas project is on track for a final investment decision in the second half of 2021.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia advanced 2.8 percent despite the country’s largest bank reporting a 16 percent decrease in first-quarter cash profit. ANZ jumped 3.2 percent and NAB added 2.6 percent.

Higher iron ore prices helped lift miners, with BHP and Rio Tinto rising around 2 percent. Fortescue Metals fell 1.8 percent on the eve of its annual general meeting. Gold miners Newcrest, Regis Resources and Evolution Mining dropped 1-2 percent.

Seoul stocks rose for an eighth straight session and hit a 2-1/2-year high as foreign investors remained net buyers for the fifth straight day.

The benchmark Kospi surged up 33.04 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,485.57, its highest close since May 3, 2018, after the release of upbeat trade data and amid hopes of a successful coronavirus vaccine.

Heavyweight Samsung Electronics gained 1.8 percent and biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion soared 7.2 percent.

South Korea’s exports rose an annual 20.1 percent in the first 10 days of November on strong chip sales and solid demand from major trading partners, customs data showed.

The country’s unemployment rate climbed to a three-month high in October, while the number of employed fell at the fastest pace in six months, another report revealed.

New Zealand shares rose as the country’s central bank unveiled a new monetary policy tool to encourage lending and projected a more upbeat view of the economic recovery.

The benchmark NZX-50 Index rose 53.24 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,665.63.
Satellite television and media streaming firm SKY Network Television jumped 6.7 percent after the release of an upgraded guidance announcement.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight as investors continued to pivot away from expensive growth stocks to small-caps and cyclical picks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.9 percent, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slumped 1.4 percent.

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