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Asian shares rise as US stimulus plans offset virus troubles

© Reuters. First day of trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange

From Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian stocks rose Monday as concerns over rising COVID-19 cases and delays in vaccine supplies were dwarfed by expectations of a fiscal stimulus plan of $ 1.9 trillion to revive the US economy has been.

Global equity markets have hit record highs in betting in the past few days. COVID vaccines will lower flexion rates around the world and fuel a stronger economic recovery in the US under President Joe Biden.

However, investors are also concerned about the high ratings given questions about the effectiveness of the vaccines in containing the pandemic and the fact that U.S. lawmakers continue to debate a coronavirus bailout package.

MSCI's broadest index for stocks in Asia Pacific outside Japan rose slightly to 721.96, not far from last week's record high of 727.31.

The benchmark was up 8.5% in January on its way to its fourth straight monthly increase.

bounced from declines in early trading, rising 0.36%.

Australian stocks were also slightly higher after the country's Medicines Agency approved the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Authorities said the phased introduction will begin at the end of next month.

Chinese stocks rose, with the blue-chip CSI300 index gaining 0.6%.

"This week Washington DC will be in the spotlight," said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist for Axi.

The Biden administration sought to allay Republicans' concerns that their $ 1.9 trillion pandemic aid proposal was too expensive. Legislators from both parties agreed that COVID-19 vaccination priority should be priority for Americans.

Financial markets have seen a massive economic boom in the US, despite disagreements leading to months of indecision in a country that has more than 175,000 COVID-19 cases with millions of unemployed people daily.

"Breakthroughs in vaccines make it likely that life will become more functional again sometime in 2021, leading to higher GDP growth and more robust corporate profits," said Innes.

"But increasing global COVID19 infections, new variants of the virus, tightened social distancing restrictions, and delays in vaccine rollouts in some places increase short-term growth risk."

Global COVID-19 cases are approaching 100 million with more than 2 million deaths.

Hong Kong on Saturday closed an area of ​​the Kowloon Peninsula, the first such measure the city has taken since the pandemic began.

In addition to being highly contagious, the new UK variant of COVID was reportedly potentially more deadly than the original strain, which also added to the worries.

In the European Union, political leaders have expressed widespread dismay at the AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 and delay Pfizer Inc (NYSE 🙂 delivering the promised doses, with the Italian Prime Minister attacking vaccine suppliers, saying delays are a serious breach of contractual obligations.

On Friday, the Dow fell 0.57%, lost 0.30% and the Nasdaq rose 0.09%. The three major US indices closed higher for the week, with the Nasdaq gaining over 4%.

Jefferies (NYSE 🙂 analysts said US stock markets were overvalued, although they remained bullish.

"In order for the stock market not only to perform badly after a bull market correction, but also really badly, there has to be a catalyst," said analyst Christopher Wood.

"That means either an economic downturn or a substantial tightening of Fed policy," said Wood, adding that neither is likely to come in a hurry.

In currencies, large pairs were trapped in a tight range as markets waited for a Fed meeting on Wednesday.

The exchange rate was unchanged at 90.19, the euro at 1.2169 USD, while the pound sterling last traded at 1.3691 USD.

The Japanese yen was unchanged at 103.77 per dollar.

In commodities, oil prices fell 12 cents to $ 55.29 per barrel and 3 cents to $ 52.24.

Gold was higher and spot prices rose 0.2% to 1,855.9 an ounce.

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