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Jan. 11, 2021, 12:30 a.m. EST

Asian stocks move upward as investor optimism defies evidence of pandemic’s impact

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Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher Monday as bullish sentiment persisted despite continuing signs of economic damage from the pandemic.

Traders continued to be cheered by prospects that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will pump more aid into the U.S. economy, a move that will help Asia and other export-driven nations.

South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -1.31% jumped 2.5% in early trading to 3,230.15. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598099/delayed AU:ASX10000 +2.15% lost 0.7% to 6,714.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.28% edged up 0.2% to 27,945.18, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +1.47% added 0.4% to 3,584.97.

Japanese markets were closed for a national holiday. Adding to concerns over surging numbers of coronavirus infections, another new variant of the virus was reported over the weekend among several people who had arrived from Brazil.

“A resurgence of COVID infections, with evidence of a more infectious, new strains taking hold in Asia, beyond the West, suggests that recovery and vaccine hopes also ride the back of the Tiger,” said Venkateswaran Lavanya of Mizuho Bank in Singapore, referring to the peril of the situation.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has taken care to spare the world’s third largest economy as much as possible from risks of sinking further, even as coronavirus cases surge in recent weeks.

Suga’s declaration of a state of emergency for the Tokyo area, which kicked in Friday, focuses on asking restaurants to close at 8 p.m. Critics fear that’s not enough, and Suga’s support ratings are sinking. Cries for his ouster are likely to grow if the upward curb in infections doesn’t flatten in a month, as he has promised.

Wall Street ended last week with more milestones, largely shrugging off another discouraging jobs report. The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.07% rose 0.5%, its second straight record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.27% and Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.03% all closed at new highs.

The S&P 500 rose 20.89 points to 3,824.68. The Dow gained 0.2%, to 31,097.97. The Nasdaq climbed 1%, to 13,201.98. The Russell 2000 index /zigman2/quotes/210598147/delayed RUT -1.12% of small-cap stocks dropped 0.2%, to 2,091.66. It ended the week with a 5.9% gain, well ahead of the 1.8% gain for the big stocks in the S&P 500.

Hopes are high for rollouts of coronavirus vaccines. But the reports of new versions of the virus are setting off new worries, as some experts believe more studies are needed to see if available vaccines will be effective in curbing those versions of the virus.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 25 cents to $51.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.41 to $52.24 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude , the international standard, shed 45 cents to $55.54 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.0989% /zigman2/quotes/210561418/realtime/sampled JPYUSD +0.0989% edged up to 104.17 Japanese yen from 103.95. The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.1341% cost $1.2176, down from $1.2220.

KR : Korea Exchange
-31.13 -1.31%
Volume: 381,109
June 30, 2022 2:00p
add Add to watchlist AU:ASX10000
+0.39 +2.15%
Volume: 0.00
June 30, 2022 2:59p
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
+62.35 +0.28%
Volume: 1.03M
June 30, 2022 1:05p
CN : China: Shanghai
+49.56 +1.47%
Volume: 23.15B
June 30, 2022 1:05p
-2.72 -0.07%
Volume: 2.11B
June 29, 2022 5:16p
US : Dow Jones Global
+82.32 +0.27%
Volume: 273.97M
June 29, 2022 5:16p
US : Nasdaq
-3.65 -0.03%
Volume: 4.97M
June 29, 2022 5:16p
US : US Composite
-19.47 -1.12%
Volume: 1.96M
June 29, 2022 6:52p
US : Tullett Prebon
-0.1350 -0.0989%
Volume: 0.0000
June 30, 2022 1:20a
US : Tullett Prebon
+0.0000 +0.0989%
Volume: 0.0000
June 30, 2022 1:20a
US : Tullett Prebon
+0.0014 +0.1341%
Volume: 0.0000
June 30, 2022 1:19a

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