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Asian Stocks Mixed, Markets Assess Global Surge of COVID-19

Asia Pacific stocks were mixed on Tuesday morning, as the number of COVID-19 cases rose globally. The global surge and weaker-than-expected corporate earnings were weighing on investor sentiment.

Eyes are on corporate earnings as the season gets underway. Alongside is the worsening global COVID-19 surge. 

CMC Markets Chief Markets Strategist Mick McCarthy said the Asian session on Tuesday morning looks like a continuation of what they saw overnight, where tech stocks got hit in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Tesla shares slid 3.4% overnight, following the crash of one of its vehicles into a tree north of Houston on Saturday. The accident involving a Tesla vehicle that was driverless might have killed two occupants.

Markets will also continue to monitor earnings for clues on the private sector’s recovery from the pandemic. This followed International Business Machines Corp.’s report of its first revenue gain in eleven quarters during its latest earnings.

Moreover, even as global stocks currently trade near record highs, there were worries about an imminent correction.

Stocks on The Move

 

Chinese blue chips and Korea rose 0.30% and 0.38%, respectively. These gains have helped MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan add 0.26% and reach its highest since early March.

By 11:02 PM ET (3:02 AM GMT), China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component inched up 0.10% and 0.20%, respectively. Later in the day, President Xi Jinping will give a video speech at the Boao Forum for Asia. It will be China’s answer to the annual Davos World Economic Forum. 

Some of the attendees at the virtual forum include Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.14%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 dipped 1.90%, while South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.33%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 shed 0.34%, following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s release of the minutes from its latest policy meeting earlier in the day.

On the vaccine front, Japanese health regulators reportedly requested additional data on the blood clots issue. This has hampered the AstraZeneca vaccination program both in the country and elsewhere. 

The vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca PLC and the University of Oxford, should get Japanese approval by May. Nevertheless, this deadline could receive a delay as the regulators wait for the data. 

In other news, on the central bank front, in China, the People’s Bank of China kept its loan prime rate steady at 3.85% earlier in the day.

Furthermore, the European Central Bank will hand down its policy decision on Thursday.

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