Asian shares rise after some losses due to Omicron but risks loom large
Asian stocks rose on Tuesday, shrugging off a bruising Wall Street session, as Chinese markets cheered Beijing’s push to help troubled property firms, although surging cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant persist as a worry for investors.
U.S. stock indexes retreated more than 1% as positive COVID-19 case counts rose and President Joe Biden’s social spending and climate bill hit a significant setback.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4%. Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.79% as investors bought into Monday’s heavy selloff while Australian stocks were up 0.47%.[.T][.AX]
While the global shares rout appeared to pause, investors are still concerned about Omicron risks.
“COVID remains a threat to the global economy. Initial evidence suggests the Omicron variant is more transmissible but results in less severe illness compared to previous variants,” economists at CBA wrote in a note.
In China, the blue-chip CSI300 index was 0.37% higher while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.46%, with real estate developers leading gains.
The moves higher come as China reportedly urged large private and state-owned property companies to acquire real estate projects from troubled developers to reduce risks that mounting debt piles will destabilise the economy.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index opened up 0.56%.
On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.23%, the S&P 500 <.SPX lost> 1.14% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.24%.
Europe’s main indexes also sold off after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would tighten coronavirus curbs if needed, after the Netherlands began a fourth lockdown and others in the region considered Christmas restrictions.
Early Tuesday, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies of other major trading partners, was down at 96.512.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.4225% compared with its U.S. close of 1.419% on Monday. The two-year yield, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 0.6297% compared with a U.S. close of 0.63%.
Oil prices started to recover from concerns the spread of the Omicron variant would crimp demand for fuel and signs of improving supply. [O/R]
U.S. crude ticked up 0.71% to $69.1 a barrel. Brent crude rose to $71.9 per barrel.
Gold was slightly higher. Spot gold was traded at $1791.32 per ounce. [GOL/]