Global shares mixed as vaccine news lifts only some regions

Yuri Kageyama

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mixed yesterday as optimism that a vaccine might soon control the coronavirus buoyed only some regional indexes.

France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.2 per cent in early trading to 5,460.09, while Germany’s DAX was down nearly 0.2 per cent at 13,119.47. Britain’s FTSE 100 dipped 0.4 per cent to 6,395.76.

United States (US) shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures slipping 0.2 per cent to 29,810.0. S&P 500 futures lost 0.3 per cent to 3,611.50.

Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be 94.5 per cent effective, according to preliminary data. It’s the second time this month that a company announced such encouraging numbers about a vaccine, boosting hopes that the global economy can return to some semblance of normalcy next year.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 per cent to finish at 26,014.62, a 29-year high.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 per cent to 6,498.20. South Korea’s Kospi lost its earlier gains and slipped 0.2 per cent to 2,539.15. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.1 per cent to 26,415.09, while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.2 per cent to 3,339.90.

“The vaccine-driven fervour had continued into the fresh week with even better trial results further inspiring markets to anticipate a virus-free reality in the not too far away future,” said Senior Market Strategist Jingyi Pan with IG in Singapore. “Asia-Pacific markets continue to bask under the vaccine glow.”

People walk past a bank’s electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AP

Even as a new surge in COVID-19 infections hit Japan, the economy rebounded in the third quarter. The recovery has still not reached pre-pandemic levels, but such signs are raising optimism about things returning to business as normal in the world’s third-largest economy.

Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research revised its growth projection for Japan this year to a more moderate contraction of 6.3 per cent, from an earlier forecast of an 8.8 per cent contraction. For 2021, Fitch projects a return to 2.7 per cent growth, which is better than its earlier forecast of 2.1 per cent growth.

“In 2021, we believe that the holding of the Summer Olympics as well as the likely availability of a COVID-19 vaccine could likely lead to a sharper upsurge in domestic demand, driving our forecast revision,” it said.

The Tokyo Games have been postponed a year to the summer of 2021. International Olympic Committee President Thomas, visiting Tokyo this week, has sought to send a message of assurance that the games will go on next year.

Bach said a “reasonable number” of fans should be able to attend the venues, vaccine or no vaccine, and stressed he wants “as many foreign participants as possible to accept a vaccine”.

Risks remain for global markets. Even if the vaccines are finally approved, it’s still uncertain when they could be widely distributed.

The pandemic is continuing to worsen, with rising coronavirus counts across the US and Europe pushing governments to bring back varying degrees of restrictions on businesses.

Some areas of the US economy have been slowing, particularly after big financial support programmes passed by Congress expired. In energy trading, benchmark US crude oil slipped 20 cents to USD41.14 per barrel.

Brent crude, the international standard, fell 13 cents to USD43.69 a barrel. In currency trading, the dollar declined to JPY104.26 from JPY104.90. The euro cost USD1.1869, up from USD1.1845.