China, Hong Kong jump more than 2% in hopes of coronavirus vaccine

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Asia Pacific stocks rose during Thursday’s trading session, following overnight positive news about the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine.The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index led gains in the region’s major markets, up 2.25% in its last trading hour. Shares of Chinese internet giant Tencent climbed about 3% while Hong Kong trade and clearing skyrocketed 4.85%.

Tensions have been closely monitored after the controversial national security law in China came into force, and Hong Kong police announced their first arrests under the measure on Wednesday. So far, police have arrested around 370 people, they said on Twitter.

Mainland Chinese stocks also posted solid gains for the day, with the Shanghai composite increasing 2.13% to around 3,090.57 and the Shenzhen component adding 1.292% to around 12,269.49.

The South Korean Kospi rose 1.36% to close at 2,135.37. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.11% to close at 22,145.96 while the Topix index rose 0.27% to end its trading day at 1,542.76.

Meanwhile, Australia’s S & P / ASX 200 jumped 1.66% to close at 6,032.70. The trade surplus for May was 8.025 billion Australian dollars (5.55 billion dollars) on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the country’s statistics office. It was below expectations of a trade surplus of 9 billion Australian dollars in a Reuters poll.

Overall, the MSCI Asia excluding Japan index rose 1.61%.

“I think it’s very interesting to note that even with yesterday’s events, the Hang Seng market is today a relative outperformer,” Pow Powell, chief investment strategist for Asia, said on Thursday. -Pacific to the BlackRock Investment Institute, on CNBC “Street Signs”. Singapore time.

Powell said market movements are a testament to the global “political revolution”, referring to the drastic measures taken by authorities around the world to keep financial markets afloat as the pandemic hits global economies.

“Even with the intricacies of domestic politics, geopolitics, the virus itself that is still with us … this political revolution is helping the financial markets to heal … in March and now to continue to function quite well,” said Powell. . . “We think having a moderately pro-risk position continues to be right … both globally and here in the region. ”

Investors have been monitoring the reaction to a recent study of a coronavirus candidate developed by Pfizer and BioNTech which found that the drug has created neutralizing antibodies. The results, which have been published online, have not yet been reviewed by a medical journal.

“We are careful,” wrote Joseph Capurso, head of international economics at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “We have received positive news about potential vaccines in the past, but not everyone has seen widespread production and distribution. ”

A senior official from the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday that some countries may need to re-implement the blockages. In the United States, more than 12 states have suspended or canceled their reopenings following a recent outbreak. Globally, more than 10 million people have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 511,000 lives have been killed, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Looking ahead, the US report on non-farm wages is expected to be released in the United States on Thursday morning.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against its peers’ basket, was 97.034 after a previous high of 97.19.The Japanese yen traded at 107.54 for the dollar after strengthening yesterday around the 108 bar against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $ 0.6922 after rebounding from levels below $ 0.69 yesterday.

Oil prices rose Thursday afternoon during trading hours in Asia, as the internationally benchmark Brent crude oil futures contract rose 0.86% to $ 42.39 a barrel. US crude futures rose 0.78% to $ 40.13 a barrel.

– Fred Imbert of CNBC contributed to this report.

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