Asian market share is mostly higher despite threat from Omicron

An electronic stock quote board is displayed inside a hall in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: An electronic stock quote board is displayed inside a conference hall in Tokyo, Japan November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato

December 22, 2021

By Scott Murdoch

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asian stock markets rallied on Wednesday as global investors’ risk appetite heightened towards year-end, despite the number of Omicron COVID-19 variant cases across the globe. around the world.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.24% in afternoon trade, higher than earlier in the day.

Australian shares closed up 0.13%, reversing a weaker start that analysts see as a result of an overnight higher US dollar denting appetite for commodities and equities. industry related.

Some weakness emerged in the North Asian markets later in the day.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index fell 0.05% and China’s blue-chip CSI 300 index fell 0.04%.

But in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.27% after gaining 1.2% at the start of trading.

Commodity futures trade showed mixed activity across markets in other regions on Wednesday.

During early European trading hours, Euro Stoxx 50 futures in the region rose 0.43% to 4,172.5, while US stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, fell 0.1 % at 4,636.

A better night on Wall Street provided a positive lead for Asian markets with a strong rebound in sentiment towards US stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 560.54 points, or 1.6%, to 35,492.7, the S&P 500 gained 81.21 points, or 1.78%, to 4,649.23 and the Nasdaq Composite added 360.14 points. or 2.4% to 15,341.09.

The leap comes despite growing concerns about the prevalence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant ahead of traditional holidays around the world.

“Investors are looking at the fundamentals of the global economy and there are a lot of positive indicators if you look at the balance sheet,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. For household accounting, consumption, and corporate profits are all high”.

“That’s positive for the market and shows that the fundamental picture of the economy is good and why people would want to own assets like stocks.”

The Omicron variant, first detected last month, is causing the number of infections to double every 1.5 to 3 days, according to the World Health Organization. It is not yet known whether it causes more severe disease than the Delta variant.

However, Asian investors have barely noticed the current surge in cases.

John Milroy, an adviser to Ord Minnett in Sydney, told Reuters: “Customers are still happy to buy here despite the obvious health and market risks, mainly that they are adding to positions. your existing mind”.

“After two years, customers are tired of talking about it (COVID-19) and while acknowledging that it is returning to focus on earnings which in our view is really good.”

Hong Hao, head of research at BOCOM International, said investors in China are more focused on potential supply chain issues from any COVID outbreak on the mainland.

“I would say investors are looking at the (COVID-19) case numbers as long as manufacturing capacity in China is not affected,” he told Reuters.

“Investors seem more relaxed… in China, the biggest concern is still the real estate sector.”

In Asian trade, the benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield was at 1.46% versus a US close of 1.487 percent on Tuesday. The two-year yield, which rose with traders’ expectations of higher Fed funds rates, touched 0.6626% versus a US close of 0.675%.

The dollar rose 0.04% against the yen to 114.13. It is still a long way from this year’s high of 115.51, hit on Nov. 24. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies by other major trading partners , rose at 96.56.

US crude rose 0.35% to $71.37 while Brent crude rose to $74.07 a barrel.

Gold is slightly lower with spot prices at $1787,396 per ounce.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Stephen Coates and Kenneth Maxwell) Asian market share is mostly higher despite threat from Omicron

Bobby Allyn

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