Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher as virus fears ease

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Asia’s stock markets follow Wall Street as worries about latest version of coronavirus ease

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Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced. Crude oil prices rose for the second day.

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Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 1.2% after the White House’s chief medical adviser said the Omicron version could be less dangerous. This could allow for the easing of travel and trade restrictions.

IG’s Yep Jun Rong said in a report that reports from South Africa, where Omicron was first sighted, that hospitals have not been overwhelmed, are “promoting some optimism”.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1% to 3,593.73 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 2.1% to 28,503.36. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.5% to end at 23,690.01.

In Seoul, the Kospi rose 0.5% to 2,987.48 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 1% to 7,317.90.

India’s Sensex opened up 1.2 percent at 57,430.23. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets rose.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,591.67. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.9% to 35,227.03. The Nasdaq rose less than 0.1% to 15,225.15.

Shares in the S&P 500 gained more than 85%, led by technology and banks.

Airlines, cruise lines and other travel companies that Dr. Anthony Fauci, said early signs suggest Omicron may be less dangerous than the earlier Delta version.

Norwegian Cruise Line vaulted 9.5% for the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. American Airlines climbed 7.9%, while United Airlines rose 8.3%.

It will still take a few weeks to know if Omicron is more contagious, causes more severe disease or evades immunity.

Investors are watching mixed US jobs data and the Federal Reserve’s plan to accelerate the withdrawal of stimulus to ease inflationary pressures.

The US government is due to report consumer inflation in November on Friday.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 65 cents to $70.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $3.23 to $69.49 on Monday. Brent crude, the price base of international oils, rose 49 cents to $73.57 a barrel in London. It rose by $3.20 to $73.08 a barrel in the previous session.

The dollar rose to 113.70 yen from Monday’s 113.49 yen. The euro rose from $1.1278 to $1.1288.

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