Picture used for illustrative purpose. File
Asian shares were mixed in muted trading Monday, ahead of the first US presidential debate and a national holiday in China later in the week.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.3% in afternoon trading to 23,511.62, while South Korea's Kospi added 1.4% to 2,310.85. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost earlier gains to slip 0.2% to 5,952.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.8% to 23,429.81, while the Shanghai Composite index inched less than 0.1% lower to 3,216.46.
China is celebrating its National Day and Mid-Autumn festival on Oct. 1, followed by a weeklong holiday through Oct. 8.
China's statistical bureau reported Sunday that industrial profits rose 19% in August from a year earlier, as the economy recovered from the pandemic downturn.
Regional markets are seeing signs of improvement in economic activity despite the coronavirus pandemic, as businesses strive to achieve a new normal with social distancing and mask-wearing.
Investors are hoping for additional fiscal stimulus measures from the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she hopes to find common ground for agreement with Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin after the $2.4 trillion package under discussion failed to bridge the divide.
The chamber passed a $3.4 trillion rescue measure in May. Democrats cut their ambitions back by $1 trillion or so, while Senate Republicans have focused on a much smaller package in the $650 billion to $1 trillion range.
Bridging the overall topline gulf would be tough
Also on investors' minds is the first presidential debate, set for Tuesday, between US President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. It could influence the course of US policies likely to affect share prices across the board.
Most major markets across Asia were in the green with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.9% for its second straight session of gains.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.6% to 23,214.38. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.5% to 5,964.90, while South Korea's Kospi added 0.6% at 2,285.09. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gave up earlier gains, sinking 0.7% to 23,146.61. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.4% to 3,209.85.
Shares rose in India but fell in Taiwan and Thailand.
The pan-European STOXX 600 gained 0.5%, building on a 5% rally this week as investors bought into utilities as well as travel-related stocks. Asian shares rose on Wednesday after the announcement of a COVID-19 vaccine that is more than 90% effective.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4% by 09:45 GMT and hit a fresh high since late February, with energy and banking sectors leading gains, while in Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.71% on Monday, pushing past a previous record high touched on Friday.
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