Asia shares set to follow Wall Street rally on vaccine hopes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Asian shares were set to rise on Tuesday after data from an early-stage trial for a coronavirus vaccine lifted hopes for a near-term economic recovery, sending global equity markets and oil prices surging.

FILE PHOTO: Passersby wearing protective face masks following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are reflected on a screen displaying stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Hong Kong futures HSIc1 were up 1.8% and Australian shares were also set to open higher. Nikkei futures NKc1 were trading above the Nikkei 225 index’s .N225 previous close, pointing to an opening gain of about 2%.

Data from Moderna Inc’s (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the United States, showed that it produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers, the company said on Monday. Shares of the pharmaceutical company surged.

There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, and experts predict a safe and effective vaccine could take 12 to 18 months to develop.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX posted its biggest one-day percentage gain in almost six weeks, gaining 3.15%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 3.85% and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 2.44%.

The vaccine optimism sent treasury yields surging and pulled gold XAU= off its highest peak since October 2012. Spot prices were up 0.07%.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 4.1%, its biggest one-day percentage gain since March 24. France and Germany on Monday called for the creation of a 500 billion euro ($543 billion) Recovery Fund able to offer grants to the countries and regions hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Epicenters of the outbreak including New York, Italy and Spain are gradually lifting restrictions that have kept millions cooped up, while warmer weather has enticed people in many parts of the world to emerge from their lockdowns.

“Business survey data for the U.S. improved to merely terrible in May, up from truly awful in April. But collectively these data support our forecast that monthly activity measures from May onward should, in general, start to look better as restrictions are gradually eased,” JP Morgan Chase economists said in a note on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, 8.16% of U.S. mortgages are in forbearance, a weekly industry survey showed. That figure was up from 7.91% previously, the smallest increase since mid-March.

Oil prices LCOc1 jumped to their highest in over two months, as the easing of global lockdowns boosted hopes of economic activity and as producers appeared to be following through with planned production cuts.

Graphic: Asian stock markets here

Reporting by Chris Prentice in Washington; Additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing by Sam Holmes

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