FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, walk past a screen showing Nikkei index, outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
July 21, 2020
By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian shares were set to open higher on Tuesday after U.S. markets gained ground on positive data from trials of three potential COVID-19 vaccines and hopes that the European Union would finalize a recovery fund.
Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures <YAPcm1> rose 0.70% in early trade while Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures <NKc1> were up 0.02%, or 0.47% higher than the Nikkei’s close on Monday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures <.HSI> <HSIc1> rose 0.92%. E-mini futures for the S&P 500 <EScv1> slipped 0.08%.
Early data from trials of three potential COVID-19 vaccines released on Monday, including a closely-watched candidate from Oxford University, increased confidence that a vaccine can train the immune system to recognize and fight the novel coronavirus without serious side effects.
European Union leaders appeared to near an agreement on Monday on a 750-billion-euro stimulus plan for regional economies hard-hit by the pandemic.
Also supporting sentiment were hopes for another round of U.S. economic stimulus after congressional Republicans announced plans to seek another $1 trillion in coronavirus economic relief.
“Global equities kicked off the trading week on a positive note as vaccine hopes supported optimism,” Felicity Emmett of ANZ Research wrote. “U.S. politicians will begin discussing the next tranche of stimulus this week, and that’s going to be a key focal point for markets too.”
The day’s news helped push the euro to its highest level in more than four months against the U.S. dollar, while the Nasdaq reached a new high – its seventh record in July.
The euro <EUR=> was up 0.16%, at $1.1444, while the yen JPY= gained 0.27%, to $107.2800.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 0.03%, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 0.84% and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> jumped 2.51%.
Tech stocks Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> and Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> provided the biggest boosts to the Nasdaq and the S&P500.
MSCI’s benchmark for global equity markets <.MIWD00000PUS> rose 0.85%.
However, worries about the pandemic’s economic and human toll pushed gold prices to their highest level since September 2011 on Monday. U.S. gold futures <GCv1> settled up 0.4% to $1,817.40 per ounce.
More than 14.58 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 605,782 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Oil prices were little changed on Monday. Brent crude <LCOc1> settled up 14 cents, or 0.3%, at $43.28 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) <CLc1> rose 22 cents, 0.5%, to $40.81.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts Marshall in New York; Editing by Sam Holmes)