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Gulf Today Report
Asian shares were on par on Thursday as investors wait for more information from drugmakers concerning coronavirus vaccine development.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.06% to 609.41, which is near its January 2018 high of 617.12. Chinese shares erased early gains and fell 0.02%. Stocks in Japan hit a 29-year high.
Daiju Aoki, regional chief investment officer for Japan UBS Securities said, "the markets are waiting for more news about the virus, so it is difficult for investors to short equities.”
European shares slumped on Thursday after climbing for eight months as soaring coronavirus cases raised uncertainties about time span for the economy to bounce back.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.6%, taking some shine off gains of more than 13% this month.
The bank sector led the declining after its best three-day winning, travel stock was down 0.7% after it banked on an effective COVID-19 vaccine and soared this week.
Mizuho Bank analysts said, "markets are re-assessing given (the mass availability of a vaccine) may take months, while second/third wave resurgence in Europe and the United States is hitting hospitalisations and invoking the re-imposition of restrictions."
France is currently leading in Europe as the most affected by coronavirus. Italy has reached the 1 million infection mark, making it part of the top 10 worst affected countries globally.
Since the coronavirus induced crash in March, the benchmark STOXX 600 has gained more than 40% but the US benchmark S&P 500 has fallen behind as fears of the long road to recovery fills the air.
Britain’s economy crawled towards gaining 1.1% in September from August. London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.8% after gaining for eight days.
The biggest drag on STOXX 600 is the financial stocks.
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 fell 0.3% after gaining at the beginning of the week. In the last two weeks, the index has advanced by 12%. MSCI's broadest index of Asian shares outside Japan edged up 0.1%, reversing earlier losses. For the week it rose to about 0.7%.
The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.7% by 08:10 GMT, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.6%, on Wall Street, the Dow slumped 1.16%.
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