Asia Markets

Stocks in Asia-Pacific rise; airline shares in Hong Kong and Singapore decline

Key Points
  • Shares of airlines in Hong Kong and Singapore slipped on Monday, after an anticipated air travel bubble between the two cities was delayed due to rising Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong.
  • Markets in Japan were closed on Monday for a holiday.
  • Developments surrounding the coronavirus likely continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose on Monday as investors continued to watch for coronavirus developments.

South Korea's Kospi led gains among the region's major markets as it gained 1.92% to close at 2,602.59, with shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics up 4.33%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day: The Shanghai composite rose 1.09% to about 3,414.49 while the Shenzhen component gained 0.743% to around 13,955.28. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 0.13% higher at 26,486.20.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.34% to finish its trading day at 6,561.60.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.84%.

Meanwhile, shares of airlines in Hong Kong and Singapore slipped on Monday.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific plunged 4.21% while China Eastern Airlines declined 1.15%. Over in Singapore, shares of Singapore Airlines dipped 0.49%.

The moves came after an anticipated air travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong was delayed for two weeks after Hong Kong saw a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

On the economic data front, Singapore's economy contracted 5.8% in the third quarter, according to the country's Ministry of Trade and Industry. The economy is now expected to contract by between 6% and 6.5% in 2020 compared to a year ago, and bounce back to growth in 2021, said the ministry. The Straits Times index rose 1.27% on Monday to 2,848.78.

Markets in Japan were closed on Monday for a holiday.

Developments surrounding the coronavirus likely continued to weigh on investor sentiment. South Korea is set to impose stricter distancing regulations for the greater Seoul area and southwestern region in an attempt to stem a resurgence of the coronavirus, according to Yonhap. Meanwhile, the U.S. recently reported nearly 200,000 new virus cases less than a week before Thanksgiving.

Oil prices rise

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, as international benchmark Brent crude futures rose 1.78% to $45.76 per barrel. U.S. crude futures added 1.56% to $43.08 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.195 following a recent decline from levels above 92.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.75 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 104.4 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7332 after turbulent trading last week that saw the currency above $0.732 and below $0.729.

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