Asian shares rose on Monday as concerns over rising COVID-19 cases and delays in vaccine supplies were eclipsed by expectations of a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plan to help revive the U.S. economy.
Global equity markets have scaled record highs in recent days on bets COVID vaccines will start to reduce the inflection rates worldwide and on a stronger U.S. economic recovery under President Joe Biden.
Still, investors are also wary about towering valuations amid questions over the efficiency of the vaccines in curbing the pandemic and as U.S.lawmakers continue to debate a coronavirus aid package.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose slightly to 721.96 and just a short distance away from last week’s record high of 727.31.
The benchmark is up 8.5% so far in January, on track for its fourth straight monthly rise.
Japan’s Nikkei rebounded from falls in early trading to be up 0.36%.
Australian shares were slightly higher too after the country’s drug regulator approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with authorities saying a phased rollout will begin late next month.
Mainland Chinese stocks were down by the early morning. The Shanghai Composite was up by 0.56% to 3,627.01. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up about 2.00% to 30,028.38.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average. Nikkei 225 is trading up 0.33 per cent at 28,727.00 on Monday, while the broader TOPIX 100 fell 0.09 per cent to 1,209.00. South Korea’s Kospi was up by 1.88% to 3200.54.