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Asian Stocks Down as Resurgent COVID-19 Cases Threaten Global Economic Recovery

Stock Markets19 minutes ago (Apr 20, 2021 11:53PM ET)

(C) Reuters.

By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were down Wednesday morning, following in U.S. shares’ footsteps as COVID-19 cases continue to resurge globally and overshadowing recent solid corporate earnings.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 2.07% by 10:59 PM ET (2:59 AM GMT) with Tokyo and Osaka reportedly due to ask that a state of emergency be declared in the country’s two biggest cities.

South Korea’s KOSPI fell 1.50% and in Australia, the ASX 200 was down 1.39%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.67%.

China’s Shanghai Composite inched down 0.10% and the Shenzhen Component was down 0.39%.

Shares in International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) climbed after the company reported its largest revenue growth in 11 quarters earlier in the week. However, United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) reported a bigger-than-expected loss and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)shares also fell in post-market trading after its first-quarter subscriber growth fell short of the average analyst estimate.

Global shares came under pressure after climbing to record highs after rising COVID-19 cases globally introduce the possibility of fresh restrictive measures, threatening the already-fragile economic recovery. The number of COVID-19 cases globally surpassed the 142.5-million mark as of Apr. 21, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Slower-than-expected COVID-19 vaccine uptake numbers and concerns about side effects have also hampered the global economic recovery after positive uptake numbers were recently reported in the U.S., U.K. and Europe.

U.S. health agencies recommended pausing the usage of Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) single-shot vaccine during the previous week as potential side effects are investigated. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is due to reach a decision about the vaccine on Friday, the European Medicines Agency said on Tuesday that it would resume use of the jab.

“The data is very mixed: on the positive side we have great vaccine rollouts that are happening and then the negative is that we have the J&J vaccine being halted,” Kayne Anderson Rudnick portfolio manager Julie Biel told Bloomberg.

“Is that going to create more vaccine hesitancy? How much of that is going to impact longer-term the ability to reopen?” The end of the pandemic “is going to be much more of a push-pull, it’s going to happen in increments,” Biel added.

Meanwhile, Treasuries held a rally that sent the benchmark 10-year yield to its lowest level in more than five weeks. The European Central Bank will also hand down its policy decision on Thursday.

Asian Stocks Down as Resurgent COVID-19 Cases Threaten Global Economic Recovery

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