Asian stocks up, bonds down as vaccine shields against second-wave worries

Asian stocks gained on Wednesday, as news of a working COVID-19 vaccine seemed to inoculate investors against worry about surging infections, while the kiwi leapt as traders pared bets on New Zealand imposing negative interest rates.

Asian Stocks
  • MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4% .
  • Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.8%, although most of the action was switching between stocks as investors sold coronavirus winners to buy discounted losers.

Currencies

Currencies were quiet save gentle dollar selling and the soaring kiwi, which climbed nearly 1% to a 19-month high of $0.6903 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept rates on hold, as expected, but sounded less dovish about the outlook.

The euro paused at $1.1820 ahead of a speech from European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde at 1300 GMT.

Commodities

  • Brent crude futures were last 41 cents firmer at $44.02 a barrel, just below a two-month high made earlier in the session.
  • U.S crude futures rose 42 cents to $41.79 a barrel.
  • Gold was steady at $1,881 an ounce.

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