Asia-Pacific markets rise as S&P 500, Nasdaq jump to record highs; mining stocks up

  • Asia-Pacific stocks rose on Wednesday.
  • The S&P 500 and Nasdaq reached record highs as optimism from the full Food and Drug Administration approval of the Pfizer Covid vaccine continued to lift U.S. stocks.
  • Iron ore prices soared, giving mining stocks a boost.

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific stocks rose in early trade Wednesday, as optimism continued to drive U.S. stocks, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq reaching record highs overnight.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan was up 0.55%, while the Topix jumped 0.61%.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.42%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.41%.

Iron ore prices soared, giving mining stocks a boost. They shot up almost 9% on Tuesday, according to Vivek Dhar, commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Mining stocks in Australia jumped in the morning. Rio Tinto jumped 3.43%, and Fortescue Metals soared more than 4%. BHP was up 1.7%.

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Optimism from the full Food and Drug Administration approval of the Pfizer Covid vaccine continued to lift U.S. markets overnight.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30.55 points, or less than 0.1%, to 35,366.26. The S&P 500 added 0.1% to a new closing high of 4,486.23. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.5% to 15,019.80, also a new closing high.

Chinese stocks led the Nasdaq as investors gain more clarity on China's regulatory outlook and buy shares of names that have taken a beating lately. 

"Markets are still basking in the glow of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine having received regulatory approval on Monday, which is paving the way for organisations to mandate vaccines for workers and thus lift vaccination rates higher," Tapas Strickland, director of economics and markets at the National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

"China's delta outbreak also appears to be under control with two consecutive days of no new domestic cases … while the PBoC vowed to boost credit support for smaller businesses and the real economy," he said.

Oil prices rise

Following a 3% jump on Tuesday as vaccine optimism also lifted commodities, oil prices were in positive territory in the morning during Asia hours.

International benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.11% to $71.18 per barrel. U.S. crude futures was just above the flatline at $67.60.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.892, falling from levels above 93 the day before.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.74 per dollar, weaker than levels above 109.6 seen yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7254, a touch higher than levels above $0.722 yesterday.

— CNBC's Yun Li contributed to this report..

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