Asian markets follow Wall Street higher in the midst of immunization trusts

Asian markets follow Wall Street higher in the midst of immunization trusts

Stocks surge in Hong Kong and Seoul

Asian shares were higher Friday on hopes for development of a coronavirus vaccine, although worries remained about long-term economic damage from the pandemic.

The rise in regional benchmarks echoed the gains on Wall Street, which were led by big technology companies that are benefiting from people staying home during the outbreak.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.17% gained 0.3% in early trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +1.30% added 1.5%, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.49% rose 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +1.33% edged up 1.8% while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.14% was little changed. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +1.98% and Singapore STI, 0.07% gained.

Reports that Pfizer’s PFE, +1.20% vaccine is on track to seek October regulatory review boosted sentiments despite ongoing uncertainty about global growth, said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said they will take their COVID-19 vaccine candidate with the fewest side effects into final-stage testing. It’s one of a handful of experimental vaccines to reach end-stage tests around the world.

“Asia markets have broadly tailed Wall Street with gains, aided also by the latest vaccine news boost to sentiment,” Pan said.

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.31% rose 0.3% after rallying back from an earlier 0.6% loss as investors weighed new government data showing an increase in the number of Americans who sought unemployment aid last week.

The discouraging report helped send two out of every three stocks in the S&P 500 lower. Energy producers and financial companies had some of the sharpest drops. But tech stocks in the S&P 500 nevertheless rose 1.4%, continuing a remarkable run of resilience.

The S&P 500 gained 10.66 points to 3,385.51. The gains kept the benchmark index close to its record level. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.16% gained 46.85 points, or 0.2%, to 27,739.73.

The strength in tech stocks helped lift the Nasdaq composite COMP, +1.06% up 118.49 points, or 1.1%, to 11,264.95, a record high.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil US:CLU20 fell 35 cents to $42.58 a barrel. Brent crude BRNV20, -0.60% , the international standard, gained 13 cents to $45.03 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar USDJPY, -0.26% inched down to 105.70 Japanese yen from 105.87 yen Thursday.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No JOURNAL RECITAL journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.