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Asian Markets Rise On Coronavirus Vaccine Optimism

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Asian stock markets are in positive territory on Tuesday following the overnight rally on Wall Street after biotechnology company Moderna reported "positive" phase one results for a potential coronavirus vaccine, saying that the vaccine produced antibodies in all 45 trial participants.

Optimism about an economic recovery as more countries reopen their economies as well as a jump in crude oil prices also lifted stocks.

The Australian market is rising for a third straight day.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 129.40 points or 2.37 percent to 5,589.90, after rising to a high of 5,606.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 127.00 points or 2.29 percent to 5,684.50. Australian stocks closed higher on Monday.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is climbing more than 8 percent, Santos is gaining almost 6 percent and Woodside Petroleum is rising more than 4 percent after crude oil prices jumped up more than 8 percent overnight.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking is gaining almost 5 percent, Westpac is rising more than 4 percent, National Australia Bank is higher by almost 4 percent, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia is advancing almost 2 percent.

In the mining space, BHP is rising more than 4 percent, Rio Tinto is higher by 4 percent and Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 3 percent.

Bucking the trend, gold miners are lower after safe-haven gold prices snapped a four-day winning streak to decline more than 1 percent overnight. Evolution Mining is lower by more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is declining almost 1 percent.

James Hardie Industries reported a 6 percent increase in full-year profit on higher net sales. The building products manufacturer's shares are climbing almost 11 percent.

Tabcorp Holdings said it will not pay a full-year dividend to shareholders amid the COVID-19 pandemic uncertainty and has arranged more financing with banks to boost liquidity. The betting and gaming giant's shares are rising more than 2 percent.

In economic news, minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's May 5 meeting revealed that members of the monetary policy board acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic is causing severe economic stress around the globe, although they remain hopeful that economic recovery could begin later this year. In the meantime, due to the steps taken to combat the virus, the labor market is expected to have ongoing spare capacity as unemployment spikes.

Australia will also provide April figures for new home loans today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6517, up from Monday's close of $0.6432.

The Japanese market is notably higher and the safe-haven yen weakened following the overnight rally on Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 404.40 points or 2.01 percent to 20,538.13, after touching a high of 20,659.46 in early trades. Japanese shares closed modestly higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing are adding more than 2 percent each.

SoftBank said Monday that it slipped to a loss for the full year, while net sales increased 1.5 percent. The company added that Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba Group, is resigning from its board after 13 years.

The major exporters are higher on a slightly weaker yen. Panasonic is gaining more than 6 percent after the company said it is in talks with luxury electric car maker Tesla to expand their joint plant in Nevada.

Mitsubishi Electric is rising more than 3 percent, Canon is higher by more than 2 percent and Sony is advancing almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is adding more than 1 percent and Advantest is up almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda Motor is gaining more than 4 percent and Toyota is adding more than 2 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is advancing almost 4 percent and Japan Petroleum is adding almost 1 percent after crude oil prices gained more than 8 percent overnight.

Among the other major gainers, AGC Inc. is gaining almost 9 percent, while Hino Motors, Mitsui E&S Holdings and JTEKT Corp. are all rising more than 7 percent each.

On the flip side, Nichirei Corp. and M3 are lower by more than 1 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will see final March numbers for industrial production today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 107 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia are all rising almost 2 percent each, while Taiwan is advancing more than 1 percent. Shanghai, New Zealand and Malaysia are also higher.

On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Monday after Moderna reported "positive" phase one results for a potential coronavirus vaccine. The biotechnology company said an early-stage human trial for a vaccine produced antibodies in all 45 participants. Energy stocks also saw substantial strength on the day, benefiting from a sharp increase by the price of crude oil.

The Dow soared 911.95 points or 3.9 percent to 24,597.37, the Nasdaq surged up 220.27 points or 2.4 percent to 9,234.83 and the S&P 500 jumped 90.21 points or 3.2 percent to 2,953.91.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on Monday. While the German DAX Index spiked by 5.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 5.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 4.3 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Monday as positive news from biotech firm Moderna Inc. about an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, and reopening of businesses in several countries across the globe eased worries about outlook for energy demand. WTI crude for June gained $2.39 or about 8.1 percent at $31.82 a barrel.

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