Asia Markets

Asia stocks jump as hopes of a coronavirus vaccine rise

Key Points
  • Shares in Asia jumped on Tuesday.
  • Moderna announced Monday "positive" phase one results for a potential coronavirus vaccine. The company said that after two doses all 45 trial participants had developed coronavirus antibodies.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping also said Monday that his country will provide $2 billion over two years to help other countries combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stocks in Asia jumped on Tuesday as hopes rise on a potential coronavirus vaccine after a promising development from a Moderna trial.

South Korea's Kospi surged 2.25% to close at 1,980.61, with shares of automaker Hyundai Motor skyrocketing 7.83%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 ended its trading day 1.49% higher at 20,433.45 as shares of robot maker Fanuc soared 3.99%. The Topix index also gained 1.83% to close at 1,486.05.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped 2.06%, as of their final hour of trade, with shares of HSBC soaring about 3.5%. Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.81% to about 2,898.58 while the Shenzhen component gained 1.21% to 11,052.85.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1.81% to close at 5,559.50.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 1.84%.

In corporate news, shares of Thai Airways skyrocketed nearly 12% after the country's cabinet approved a plan for the airline to go to bankruptcy court for debt restructuring, Reuters reported Tuesday citing the Thai prime minister.

The moves came following overnight developments after Moderna reported "positive" phase one results for a potential coronavirus vaccine. The company said that after two doses all 45 trial participants had developed coronavirus antibodies.

"I hope … we find the vaccine in record time and everything is rosy again but the underlying reality is still very shaky," Hugh Young, managing director for the Asia Pacific region at Aberdeen Standard Investments, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Tuesday.

Commenting on the market rally following that positive development from Moderna, Young said: "It might well have legs short-term but I think the reality that we're going to see over coming weeks is the effect on corporate earnings and corporate health. The second quarter this year is going to be pretty terrible for economies worldwide … and for most corporates."

Chinese President Xi Jinping also said Monday that his country will provide $2 billion over two years to help other countries combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, minutes from the the Reserve Bank of Australia's May monetary policy meeting released Tuesday showed that its Board "would not increase the cash rate target until progress is made towards full employment and it is confident that inflation will be sustainably within the 2-3 per cent target band."

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures rising 1.32% to $35.27 per barrel. U.S. crude futures added 2.92% to $32.75 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.45 after falling from levels above 100 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.43 per dollar after weakening from levels below 107.2 seen yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6552, following its ascent from levels below $0.65 yesterday.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.