Asia-Pacific stocks rise following Wall Street bounce, positive Covid vaccine development

South Korea leads gains as Asia-Pacific markets trade mixed

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose in Friday morning trade after shares stateside saw an overnight bounce from heavy losses suffered on Wednesday.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.29% in early trade while the Topix index rose 0.17%. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.78%.

Shares in Australia rose in morning trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.87%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares traded 0.33% higher.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.98% to close at 3,787.38 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 300.19 points to finish its trading day at 30,603.36. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.5% to close at 13,337.16.

On the coronavirus front, biotech firm Novavax said that its vaccine was more than 89% effective in protecting against Covid-19.

A study found that the vaccine appeared to be 85.6% effective against the U.K. variant. A separate phase two study in South Africa, however, showed the vaccine isn’t nearly as effective against a new strain ravaging that country. Shares of the company were up more than 23% in after-hours trading.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 101.25 million people while at least 2.18 million lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.455 after rising from levels below 90.3 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.29 per dollar, having weakened from levels below 104 against the greenback earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7673 after falling below $0.762 yesterday.

— CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.

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