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Asian Shares Rise On Vaccine Hopes

stockmarkets jan23 13jul20 lt

Asian stocks advanced on Monday as hopes for a quick economic recovery as well as reports of positive data in early stage coronavirus vaccine trials helped offset worries about a continued surge in new coronavirus cases worldwide.

Chinese shares extended last week's surge on hopes of earnings improvement. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index surged up 59.96 points, or 1.8 percent, to 3,443.29, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 44.71 points, or 0.2 percent, to 25,772.12.

Japanese shares hit a one-month high as a positive update from Gilead's antiviral drug to treat Covid-19 offset investor fears over surging cases. Tokyo reported 119 new coronavirus infections today, falling below 200 for the first time in five days.

The Nikkei 225 Index soared 493.93 points, or 2.2 percent, to 22,784.74, its highest close since June 10, with automakers leading the surge on upbeat industry data from China. The broader Topix closed 2.5 percent higher at 1,573.02.

Honda Motor surged 5.9 percent, Toyota Motor rallied 3 percent, Nissan Motor advanced 4.5 percent, Mitsubishi Motors jumped 6.2 percent and Mazda Motor soared 8.8 percent.

Banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rose around 3 percent, while oil company Inpex surged 6 percent and Japan Petroleum added 2.2 percent.

Australian markets rose notably as positive trial results of an experimental Covid-19 treatment overshadowed growing concerns over a fresh outbreak of the coronavirus in public housing in Melbourne's north.

Scientists in Queensland said that a coronavirus vaccine developed by them could be ready for use as early as the start of next year, with clinical trials beginning today.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 58.30 points, or 1 percent, to 5,977.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 53 points, or 0.9 percent, at 6,089.30.

Financials led the surge, with the big four banks rising between 1.7 percent and 2.1 percent. Woodside Petroleum and Origin Energy climbed around 2 percent after oil prices rose more than 2 percent on Friday. Beach Energy shares jumped 3.5 percent.

Buy-now-pay-later firm Sezzle Inc. soared more than 22 percent after raising A$79.1 million ($55.05 million) from institutional investors. Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto rose about 2 percent, while gold miners ended on a mixed note.

Meanwhile, Oil Search lost 2 percent after it announced plans to write off around $380 million in its half-year results.

Estia Health tumbled 3.3 percent. The aged care provider said it will record a non-cash impairment charge of between A$124 million and A$148 million in its full-year results due to uncertainty related to the coronavirus.

Seoul stocks posted strong gains as investors held out hopes for a quick economic recovery despite rising Covid-19 cases. Data released by the South Korean customs office showed that the country's exports fell an annual 1.7 percent in the first 10 days of July, suggesting easing in the decline in global shipments.

Exports of memory chips, a key item, rose 7.7 percent, while exports of automobiles gained 7.3 percent over the 10-day period from a year earlier, the report revealed. The benchmark Kospi added 35.81 points, or 1.7 percent, to finish at 2,186.06.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 1.3 percent, steelmaker POSCO gained 2.8 percent, automaker Hyundai Motor climbed 3.3 percent and chemical maker LG Chem advanced 3.4 percent.

New Zealand shares finished modestly higher, with the benchmark NZX 50 Index rising 39.93 points, or 0.4 percent, to 11,434.79. Chorus climbed 2.8 percent and
Oceania Healthcare advanced 1.1 percent.

U.S stocks advanced on Friday after Gilead Sciences (GILD) said remdesivir showed a sharp mortality risk drop when used to treat patients suffering from the coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.4 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 added 1.1 percent.

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