Home Finance Asia Pacific stocks mostly dip as investors watch reopening of economies

Asia Pacific stocks mostly dip as investors watch reopening of economies

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Key Points:

  • Shares in Asia Pacific mostly declined on Thursday.
  • The World Health Organization said the number of newly reported cases globally hit a daily record this week, amid authorities around the world attempting to ease lockdown measures put in place to curb the virus’ spread.
  • Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 advanced 1.7% to 2,971.61, its highest closing level since March 6. Wednesday’s advance stateside put the major averages up more than 3% for the week.

Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly declined on Thursday as investors continued to monitor the reopening of economies amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mainland Chinese stocks dipped on the day, with the Shanghai composite 0.55% lower at around 2,867.92 while the Shenzhen component declined 0.94% to 10,845.40. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.51%, as of its final hour of trading.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.21% lower at 20,552.31 while the Topix index finished its trading day 0.23% lower at 1,491.21. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.44% to close at 1,998.31.

Shares in Australia slipped by the close, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.41% to 5,550.40.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.24% lower.

Japan’s trade data for April released by the country’s Ministry of Finance on Thursday showed exports in April plunging 21.9% as compared to a year earlier. That was less than the 22.7% drop predicted by economists in a Reuters poll.

Tapas Strickland, director of economics and markets at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note prior to the release that economic data “continues to take a back seat as markets look to higher frequency data to gauge how quickly activity is returning.”

“All eyes on the global PMIs to see whether economic activity troughed in April and if the easing of lockdown restrictions is seeing a bounce back in activity as indicated by the high frequency data such as Apple/Google mobility indicators,” Strickland said.

Investors also likely continued to watch for developments on the coronavirus pandemic, as the World Health Organization said the number of newly reported cases globally hit a daily record this week, amid authorities around the world attempting to ease lockdown measures put in place to curb the virus’ spread.

Markets had gotten a boost earlier in the week after Moderna announced a positive development for a potential coronavirus vaccine. On Wednesday, in response to a STAT News report that vaccine experts were skeptical of Moderna’s new vaccine data, the firm’s chairman told CNBC that it would never put out data on its potential vaccine for the coronavirus that was different from “reality.”

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