Asia Markets

Airline stocks jump as vaccine hopes again lift markets; Asia-Pacific shares mixed

Key Points
  • Airline stocks in Asia-Pacific jumped.
  • In Australia, the bourse resumed trading on Tuesday after a nearly full-day trading halt Monday due to a software issue.
  • Wall Street was buoyed to record highs after Moderna said preliminary phase three trial data shows its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19.

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific shares were mixed by the close on Tuesday even as vaccine hopes once again lifted Wall Street to record highs. Airline stocks in the region got a boost.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.42% to close at 26,014.62, after touching a 52-week high on Monday. The Topix edged up 0.16% to 1,734.66.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.21% to close at 6,498.20. The bourse resumed trading on Tuesday after a nearly full-day trading halt Monday that it said was due to a software issue which created "inaccurate market data."

Mainland Chinese stocks were subdued. The Shanghai composite edged down 0.21% to close at 3,339.90, while the Shenzhen component declined 0.85% to 13,732.52.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was above the flatline in the afternoon.

South Korea's Kospi edged down 0.15% to 2,539.15.

Over in Singapore, the Straits Times index jumped nearly 1% in the afternoon. The country reported non-oil domestic exports that were far off expectations, falling 3.1% year-on-year, as compared to forecasts of a 5.7% rise, according to Reuters.

Overall, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was almost flat.

Wall Street was buoyed to record highs after Moderna said preliminary phase three trial data shows its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 470.63 points, or 1.6%, to close at 29,950.44. The 30-stock Dow logged intraday and closing record highs. The S&P 500 climbed 1.2% to 3,626.91, posting an all-time closing high. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.8% to 11,924.13.

That came after Pfizer and BioNTech announced last week that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective.

"Equity markets focused on the improving medium‑term growth implications, which appear to be brightening from H2 2021 onwards. Yet the current virus surge is stifling near-term growth prospects," cautioned Felicity Emmett, a senior economist at ANZ, in a Tuesday note.

Outbreaks in the U.S. are still spiking, as the country added 1 million new cases of the virus in under a week. The country has now recorded more than 11 million Covid-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Airline stocks jump

Airline stocks regionally jumped on the vaccine development.

In Australia, Qantas rose 1.54%, while Air New Zealand jumped around 2.74%.

Over in Japan, Japan Airlines jumped 3.72%, while All Nippon Airways surged more than 4%.

Singapore Airlines bounced nearly 5%, and Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific surged 7%.

Oil continues rising, copper prices hit a high

Oil prices were subdued in the afternoon of Asia hours after jumping 3% on Monday on the back of positive vaccine news. U.S. crude futures edged down 0.12% to $41.29 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude futures were up 0.16% to $43.89 per barrel.

Oil stocks in Australia, too, saw gains by the close. Santos rose 3.41%, Oil Search surged 4.26%, and Beach Energy rocketed past 6%.

Meanwhile, copper prices hit a 29-month high on Monday, according to Reuters. That reflected optimism around demand in China after the country reported better-than-expected factory output in October.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was trading at 92.563, sliding from levels above 92.6 earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.52 against the greenback, a touch firmer as compared to Monday. The Australian dollar was at 0.7303 against the dollar, strengthening from the 0.72 mark yesterday.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO to access live PRO Talks live, including our Dec. 2 discussion on opportunities and risks in international markets.