The News Scroll 22 December 2020  Last Updated at 9:20 am | Source: PTI

Asian shares extend losses on worries about spread of virus

Asian shares extend losses on worries about spread of virus
Bangkok, Dec 22 (AP) Asian shares retreated on Tuesday, extending losses on growing worries over a new, potentially more infectious strain of the coronavirus.

The outbreaks are raising worries that the world economy may take even worse punishment.

Tokyo''s Nikkei 225 fell 0.5 per cent to 26,595.52. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng edged 0.2 per cent lower to 26,262.02.

South Korea''s Kospi declined 0.6 per cent to 2,760.93. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gave up 0.7 per cent to 6,626.70. The Shanghai Composite index shed 0.4 per cent to 3,406.30.

With new uncertainties, “investors appear to be treading more cautiously in Asia this morning, getting more selective and probably waiting for the new mutant virus to be better understood before aggressively diving back into the Airlines, Travel & Leisure vaccinated bandwagon,'''' Stephen Innes of Axi said in a commentary.

Stocks, oil prices and Treasury yields fell on Monday, a sign investors are uneasy about the economy.

News of the new and potentially more infectious strain of the coronavirus has countries around the world restricting travel from the United Kingdom.

That has traders worried about the possible economic consequences should it spread to other countries or prove resistant to vaccines being distributed now.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson put London and the southeast of England in a new level of restrictions after scientific advisers warned they had detected the new variant of the coronavirus.

There is no evidence that the new strain''s mutations make it more deadly, but it seems to infect more easily than others.

The S&P 500 fell 1.4 per cent to 3,694.92.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1 per cent to 30,216.45.

The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1 per cent to 12,742.52. The Russell 2000 small-cap index gained 0.1 per cent to 1,970.33.

Encouraging news out of Washington helped keep the selling in check. Congress finally approved a USD 900 billion relief effort for the economy that includes USD 600 in cash payments for most Americans, extra benefits for laid-off workers and other financial support.

Economists and investors have been clamouring for such aid for months, and a recent upswing in momentum for talks had stock prices rising in anticipation of a deal.

Analysts said some traders may have been selling to lock in profits, with the compromise all but assured and prices close to the highest they''ve ever been.

Even after Monday''s drop, the S&P 500 is back only to where it was earlier this month.

Across the Atlantic, negotiators blew past a Sunday deadline set for talks on trade terms for the United Kingdom''s exit from the European Union.

Investors have been fixed on the progress of those talks because a Brexit with no deal could cause massive disruptions for businesses on New Year''s Day.

Monday was also the first day of trading for Tesla since joining the S&P 500 index.

The electric-vehicle maker surged so much this year, nearly 731 per cent as of Friday evening, that some critics say its price doesn''t make sense. But its inclusion in the benchmark index triggered USD 90.3 billion in trades, as the company instantly became the sixth-biggest in the S&P 500. Tesla slumped 6.5 per cent Monday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 0.93 per cent.

Benchmark US crude oil lost 27 cents to USD 47.70 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up USD 1.27 on Monday to USD 47.97 per barrel.

Brent crude, the international standard, slipped 23 cents to USD 50.68 per barrel.

The dollar rose to 103.41 Japanese yen from 103.31 yen on Monday. The euro fell to USD 1.2232 from USD 1.2243. (AP) RUP RUP

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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