Picture used for illustration. File
Asian stocks hovered near four-month highs on Thursday on hopes of a vaccine for COVID-19 while copper prices jumped to a more than six-month peak on a better global outlook and supply fears in top producer Chile.
All eyes are on US employment data, due later in the day, which are expected to offer further cues into how the world's largest economy is coping with a rise in coronavirus cases in several states.
In a sign the positive sentiment will extend elsewhere, E-minis for S&P500 rose 0.3% while futures for Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.8% and those for Germany's DAX climbed 0.8%. London's FTSE futures added 0.6%.
Risk sentiment was whetted by a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech, which was found to be well tolerated in early-stage human trials.
A vaccine for COVID-19, which has killed more than half a million people globally and shut down the world economy, has been long anticipated.
"Based on a vaccine trial containing 45 people, including placebos, the V-shaped recovery gnomes, are once again, reaching for the sky," said Jeffrey Halley, Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside of Japan rose 1.5% to near levels seen in early March.
All major Asian indexes were upbeat with Japan's Nikkei rising 0.1%, China's blue-chip index adding 1.7% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 1.8%.
US employment figures will help indicate whether the world's largest economy can sustain its fragile recovery as new COVID-19 cases accelerate in several southern states.
Markets rose last week after unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs data despite some American states reporting record new coronavirus infections.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.3% and further away from a four-month top hit last week. Japan's Nikkei shed 2.2% and Chinese blue chips 0.9%.
The U.S. currency gained more than 0.2% against a basket of currencies, as risk sentiment soured in early trading in Europe.
Global shares stumbled on Friday as hopes of a fiscal boost from a $1.9 trillion US stimulus plan were smothered by the prospect of stricter lockdowns in France and Germany and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China.
The Italian government has approved a new stimulus package worth 32 billion euros ($38.8 billion) to prop up the battered economy, pushing this year’s budget deficit significantly higher than previously planned.
Pakistan and Bangladesh are rationing gas and buyers across South Asia are seeking alternative fuels after spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices surged to record highs, government and industry officials told Reuters.