Asian markets rise on fresh vaccine hopes, eyes on earnings

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HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets rose Monday, recovering some of the losses at the end of last week, as investors followed a strong performance on Wall Street fuelled by hopes for a coronavirus vaccine, though a spike in infections around the world capped gains.

Trillions of dollars in government support is keeping equities well supported but confidence is being strangled by the spread of the disease, with an explosion of cases forcing some countries to reimpose containment measures just weeks after easing lockdowns.

Traders are also looking ahead to the corporate earnings season, which will reveal how companies fared during the second quarter, when economy-sapping lockdowns were imposed around the planet.

Tokyo led the gains, adding 1.7 percent in the morning session, while Hong Kong added 0.6 percent and Shanghai put on 0.5 percent, with Seoul and Sydney also climbing more than one percent.

Jakarta rose 0.8 percent, Taipei gained one percent and Wellington added 0.6 percent.

Singapore and Manila were slightly lower.

The advances came after the Dow and S&P 500 surged more than one percent in New York and the tech-heavy Nasdaq chalked up another record.

Investors welcomed comments from the head of German biotech firm BioNTech who said a vaccine candidate would be ready for regulatory review by the end of the year, while Gilead Sciences said its drug remdesivir had been relatively effective in clinical trials.

“Ongoing grim US COVID-19 infection news continues to be summarily ignored in favour of ongoing optimism regarding the timeline for the discovery and rapid roll-out of an effective vaccine… and/or more policy support for asset prices in the US economy,” said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.

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