Shares down

    394

    SYDNEY- Asian shares and most currencies held tight ranges on Monday, as investors awaited developments on US fiscal stimulus and coronavirus vaccines amid a resurgence of infections in Europe.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.1 percent weaker, though it was not too far from a June 2018 peak at 568.84.

    Australia’s benchmark index slipped 0.5 percent while New Zealand’s stumbled 0.6 percent.

    Chinese shares opened in the red with the blue-chip index down 0.3 percent.

    “While the economic recovery continues, momentum is clearly slowing,” Kathy Bostjancic, chief US financial economist at Oxford Economics wrote in a note.

    “The second phase of the recovery will likely be bumpy and fraught with pitfalls,” Bostjancic added.

    “The development of the pandemic remains the overriding factor driving the economy, discussions on the fiscal policy, and ultra loose policy by the Fed.”

    On Friday, US stocks declined with the Dow down 0.9 percent, the S&P 500 losing 1.1 percent and Nasdaq Composite dropping 1.07 percent.

    The signal from futures was not very optimistic, with the S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 falling 0.1 percent and pointing to a weak start for Wall Street on Monday.

    Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday.

    Coronavirus cases have now surpassed 30 million, casting a gloomy pall over prospects of a V-shaped economic recovery.