Asian Shares Trade In Narrow Range
Asian stocks were little changed in cautious trade on Wednesday amid renewed concerns about the Omicron Covid-19 variant’s economic impact.
Information technology stocks followed the Nasdaq Composite higher, helping limit the downside, if any.
The Biden administration on Tuesday unveiled the stepped-up measures to counter an Omicron surge in the United States.
Elsewhere, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled out tighter restrictive measures ahead of the holiday season but urged caution.
Underlying sentiment remained somewhat supported after U.S. President Biden said it is still possible to reach a deal with Senator Joe Manchin to push the $2 trillion Build Back Better bill through Congress.
Chinese shares were little changed with a negative bias, after having opened higher earlier in the day.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose nearly half a percent as tech stocks gained ground, tracking a rally in U.S.-listed Chinese tech stocks in overnight New York trading.
Japanese shares held steady, with the Nikkei average up 0.1 percent, after the minutes of the Bank of Japan’s Oct. 27-28 meeting showed that board members agreed to take additional easing steps as necessary to support economic recovery.
Australian markets were modestly lower, with Rio Tinto shares falling 2.5 percent after signaling it intends to become a significant player in the global lithium market.
Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals surged 7.5 percent and Liontown Resources rallied 3.5 percent. Tech heavyweight Afterpay jumped 5.4 percent, after having hit a 52-week low on Tuesday.
South Korea’s Kospi average was up 0.2 percent while New Zealand’s NZX-50 index was down 0.1 percent.
U.S. stocks posted robust gains overnight, as the likes of Micron Technology, Nike and Rite Aid reported better than expected quarterly results and Moderna announced that a booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine increased antibody levels against Omicron.
The Dow climbed 1.6 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped as much as 2.4 percent and the S&P 500 added 1.8 percent.
European stocks bounced back from their worst drop in three weeks amid optimism that robust growth will continue over the medium term.
The pan European Stoxx 600, the German DAX, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 and France’s CAC 40 all surged up by 1.4 percent.
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