Asian stocks up on vaccine hopes


    HONG KONG/NEW YORK- Asian stocks cautiously pushed further into record territory on Tuesday, and oil edged higher after US benchmarks were pepped up by news of another promising coronavirus vaccine.

    Investor sentiment was given a boost when Moderna Inc said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was 94.5 percent effective in preventing infection based on interim late-state data.

    The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm became the second drugmaker, after Pfizer Inc, to announce promising trial data in the development of a vaccine to defeat the pandemic. Its shares gained 9.6 percent on the day.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.11 percent on Tuesday morning, a day after hitting its highest level since launching in 1987.

    The MSCI World Index of global shares which also hit a record high on Monday, ticked higher still in Asia’s morning trading.

    “Investors are looking further ahead in the pandemic development into 2021, instead of focusing on the very challenging outbreak that’s taking place in the US and Europe now,” said Tai Hui, chief Asia market strategist, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, in emailed comments.

    Hong Kong benchmark rose 0.1 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.23 percent, after Monday’s trading had been severely curtailed by a software glitch Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.2 percent after hitting a 29 year high the day before.

    All three main Wall Street indexes advanced on Monday, led by cyclical and small cap names, with the Dow Jones Industrials Average setting a record as it neared the 30,000 mark for the first time in nine months.