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Fresh Vaccine Hopes sees Asian Markets Push Higher

September 14, 2020


Asian markets edged higher Monday as investors crept back after a recent sell-off, with COVID vaccine hopes given a boost as traders begin to look ahead to the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.

But the continuation of virus containment and lockdown measures in several countries, worries about high valuations, Brexit worries, and uncertainty over the US presidential election are keeping gains in check.

Trials on one of the most advanced vaccines resumed over the weekend after being briefly paused after a volunteer fell ill. British regulators gave AstraZeneca and Oxford University the green light to push on following an investigation.

Oxford University said that “in large trials such as this, it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be carefully evaluated”.

And AstraZeneca said it remained hopeful the vaccine would still be available “by the end of this year, early next year”.

The news gave some much-needed relief for markets, as governments across the world see a worrying surge of infections, forcing Israel to introduce a three-week lockdown.

Britain, France, Austria, and the Czech Republic were among European countries reporting surges, with new cases in the UK reaching more than 3,000 in 24 hours for the second day in a row on Saturday.

Attention is now turning towards the November presidential election, with Donald Trump battling to keep the White House against Joe Biden, who is leading in opinion polls.

“The focus on all the other danger points has meant the election has played a less meaningful role so far but, with the election just a few weeks away, something tells me it may soon move into the driver’s seat,” said AxiCorp’s Stephen Innes.

“With election risk and the path to economic nirvana clouded by virus concerns, and while optimism remains keen on a vaccine to cure, it’s bound to be another roller-coaster ride this week.”

In early trade, Hong Kong added 0.9 percent and Shanghai was up 0.4 percent while Sydney put on 0.5 percent.

Tokyo rallied 0.7 percent while Seoul and Jakarta each jumped more than one percent each, while Taipei and Wellington were also up.

This week’s Federal Reserve meeting is high on the agenda for investors looking for an update on the state of the world’s top economy and hoping for fresh guidance on its monetary policy.

However, while the bank’s wall of cash has provided some support to markets, it’s been observed that U.S. lawmakers are still not any closer to agreeing on a new stimulus package to help Disgruntled Americans, which is preventing people from spending and keeping recovery on the back foot.