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Rally pauses as infection spikes

(ATF) Hong Kong: Asian markets paused on Tuesday as investors assessed the risk posed by the spike in coronavirus infections globally and weighed that against increasing optimism that vaccine makers are getting ready to launch protection against the pandemic some time in the new year.

More than 55 million people around the world have the coronavirus and experts suspect the real figure may be considerably higher than that. The official death count now is over 1.3 million.

“The fact that there is now light at the end of the Covid tunnel and an exit strategy from this health crisis and economic crisis has given investors plenty to cheer,” Fiona Cincotta of Gain Capital, said. 

The Asia Eight: Daily must-reads from world’s most dynamic region

“However, it is also impossible to ignore the current Covid backdrop. Sharply rising cases, tightening lockdown restrictions could quickly knock the fragile economic recovery off course well before the vaccine is being widely distributed.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index advanced 0.42%, Australia’s S&P ASX 200 added 0.21%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index inched up 0.13% but China’s CSI300 dipped 0.19%, Regionally, the MSCI Asia Pacific index jumped 0.7%.

US Treasuries gained from the safety bid with the 10-year yield falling 2 basis points to 0.88%.

But overall the regional equity markets are expected to benefit from a sustained economic recovery.

“An upturn in growth and a lag in policy tightening create a sweet spot for equities, especially with light investor positioning. We emphasize cyclicals while continuing to favour digital economy structural growth themes,” Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note.

“A global cyclical recovery has positive implications for Asian equities. The overarching macro theme for 2021 is a robust growth recovery as the global economy rebounds from the effects of the pandemic.”

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Asia Stocks

· Japan’s Nikkei 225 index advanced 0.42%

· Australia’s S&P ASX 200 added 0.21% 

· Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index inched up 0.13%

· China’s CSI300 dipped 0.19%

· The MSCI Asia Pacific index jumped 0.7%.

Stock of the day

Lenovo Group  rose as much as much as 5.8% after declaring interim earnings that showed a jump in net profit.

Umesh Desai

Umesh Desai is the Executive Editor at Asia Financial. Prior to this he spent over two decades with Reuters News as Asia Pacific Chief Correspondent in Hong Kong and Bureau Chief in Bombay. Before becoming a journalist Umesh was a credit ratings analyst with Moody's arm in India - ICRA. A chartered accountant by training, Umesh began his career as an equity analyst. His Twitter handle is @umesh_desai


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