Asian markets gain on coronavirus-vaccine optimism

A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo on Tuesday,.


Associated Press

BEIJING — Asian stock markets rose for second day Tuesday on hopes for progress toward a possible coronavirus vaccine that might allow the world to revive manufacturing, shopping and normal life.

Benchmarks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney rose while stocks dipped slightly in Seoul.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed 1.2% higher on Monday after Pfizer Inc. said early data on a vaccine under development suggest it might be it might be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, though that doesn’t mean its release is imminent.

“This offers a ray of hope that the market did not hesitate to take advantage of,” Tai Hui of J.P. Morgan Asset Management said in a report.

Also Tuesday, China reported October inflation fell to its lowest level in a decade. That gives Beijing room to spend more heavily and ease access to credit further if necessary to support an economic recovery that is gathering strength.

The Nikkei 225
NIK,
+0.26%

rose 0.5% and the Hang Seng
HSI,
+1.09%

in Hong Kong added 0.7%. The Shanghai Composite Index
SHCOMP,
-0.40%

gained 0.1%.

The S&P/ASX 200
XJO,
+0.66%

in Sydney advanced 0.4%. The Kospi
180721,
+0.23%

in Seoul was off 0.1% and Taiwan’s Taiex
Y9999,
-0.34%

slipped 0.5%. New Zealand
NZ50GR,
+0.40%
,
Singapore
STI,
+3.66%

and Jakarta
JAKIDX,
+1.99%

also rose.

Markets also were relieved by the resolution to the extended uncertainty about the battle for the U.S. presidency. Over the weekend, Democrat Joe Biden clinched the final Electoral College votes to unseat President Donald Trump, though Trump has yet to concede.

Congress may be split between Democratic control of the House of Representatives and Republicans in the Senate. Investors appear to be encouraged by that, which they hope will constrain a Biden administration’s possible moves on tax increases and regulatory changes.

On Wall Street, S&P 500
SPX,
-0.18%

rose to 3,550.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
+0.88%

climbed 2.9% to 29,157.97. The Nasdaq composite
COMP,
-1.47%
,
dominated by tech stocks, lost 1.5% to 11,713.78.

In energy markets, U.S. benchmark crude oil
CLZ20,
+2.73%

lost 39 cents to $39.90 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract soared $3.15 on Monday to $40.29. Brent crude
BRNF21,
+0.06%
,
the price standard for international oils, shed 27 cents to $42.13 per barrel in London. It rose $2.95 the previous session to $42.40.

The dollar
USDJPY,
-0.09%

declined to 104.84 yen from Monday’s 105.45 yen.

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