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Asian Markets Mixed as Coronavirus Cases Globally Surge

Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed in Monday trade as new coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. as well in countries across Europe.

Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite down about 0.7% while the Shenzhen component added 0.407%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.13% while the Topix index shed 0.43%.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi declined.0.26%. Shares of firms affiliated to conglomerate Samsung Group traded mixed following the passing of Samsung Electronics Chairman, Lee Kun-hee. Samsung C&T surged more than 19% while Samsung Life Insurance soared 6.34%. Samsung Electronics edged 0.5% higher. Samsung SDI and Samsung Heavy Industries slipped 1.3% and 0.77%, respectively.

Shares in Australia were little changed, with the S&P/ASX 200 down about 0.1%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded above the flatline. The Hong Kong market is closed on Monday for a holiday.

Meanwhile, oil prices dropped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures fell about 1.7% to $41.05 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also declined 1.81% to $39.13 per barrel.

Developments out of China were watched, as the country’s top leaders meet this week to plan for the next five years.

Investor focus on Monday was also likely on the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the West, with the U.S. recently reporting a record-breaking number of new virus cases.

Over in Europe, cases have also surged, with Reuters reporting that France registered record daily coronavirus infections while Italy ordered bars to close early and shut public gyms in a bid to stem a resurgence in the virus.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.932 after its bounce from levels below 92.8 last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.87 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 105 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.711 following a rise from levels below $0.704 in the previous trading week.