Asian traders cautious as vaccine hopes offset by virus surge
Hong Kong: Asian markets mostly rose Wednesday but investors were shifting cautiously as they weighed hopes for a virus vaccine against surging infections around the world that threaten an already stuttering economic recovery.
While the mood on trading floors remains broadly optimistic about the long-term outlook, analysts said the coronavirus will continue to cause worry, while the head of the Federal Reserve warned of a "challenging" few months ahead. Joe Biden's election win -- paving the way for a less bombastic presidency -- and news that trials indicated two vaccine candidates had proved to be hugely successful have helped global markets bounce back strongly from a painful October.
The breakthroughs by Pfizer and BioNTech, and Moderna a week later, have fanned hopes that life can begin to return to normal from the start of next year, particularly giving a boost to travel and tourism stocks.
And Pfizer boss Albert Bourla on Tuesday provided more optimism when he said its drug had passed a key safety milestone, meaning it could now seek emergency-use authorization from US regulators. "Overall risk sentiment could yet be sustained with more vaccine headlines likely over coming days," said National Australia Bank's Tapas Strickland.
"Oxford/AstraZeneca results are said to be 'imminent' and if similar to the efficacy seen in the other candidates will be important given the amount of shadow production and supply agreements undertaken by AstraZeneca." - AFP