/Stocks in Asia-Pacific edge higher; airline shares in Hong Kong and Singapore decline

Stocks in Asia-Pacific edge higher; airline shares in Hong Kong and Singapore decline

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose during Monday morning trade as investors continue to watch for coronavirus developments.

South Korea’s Kospi led gains among the region’s major markets as it gained 1.68%, with shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics up more than 3%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index traded fractionally higher. Mainland Chinese stocks, however, were mixed: The Shanghai composite rose about 0.2% while the Shenzhen component shed 0.197%.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose about 0.5%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.62% higher.

Meanwhile, shares of airlines in Hong Kong and Singapore slipped in Monday morning trade.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific plunged 4.35% while China Eastern Airlines declined 2.01%. Over in Singapore, shares of Singapore Airlines dipped 0.73%.

The moves came after an anticipated air travel bubble between the two cities was delayed. Hong Kong has seen a recent increase in coronavirus cases.

On the economic data front, Singapore’s economy contracted 5.8% in the third quarter, according to the country’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. The economy is now expected to contract by between 6% and 6.5% in 2020 compared to a year ago, and bounce back to growth in 2021, said the ministry.

Markets in Japan are closed on Monday for a holiday.

Developments surrounding the coronavirus will likely continue to weigh on investor sentiment. South Korea is set to impose stricter distancing regulations for the greater Seoul area and southwestern region in an attempt to stem a resurgence of the coronavirus, according to Yonhap. Meanwhile, the U.S. recently reported nearly 200,000 new virus cases less than a week before Thanksgiving.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.253 following a recent decline from levels above 92.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.74 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 104.4 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7323 after turbulent trading last week that saw the currency above $ 0.732 and below $ 0.729.

Oil prices were mixed in the morning of Asia trading hours, as international benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.11% to $ 45.01 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dipped fractionally to $ 42.38 per barrel.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Singapore: Consumer Price Index for October at 1:00 p.m. HK/SIN

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