Asia Trader

Asia-Pacific Stocks Rise as Investors Watch for Coronavirus Developments.

Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose on Monday as investors continued to watch for coronavirus developments.

South Korea’s Kospi led gains among the region’s major markets as it gained 1.92% to close at 2,602.59, with shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics up 4.33%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day: The Shanghai composite rose 1.09% to about 3,414.49 while the Shenzhen component gained 0.743% to around 13,955.28. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was little changed, as of its final hour of trading.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.34% to finish its trading day at 6,561.60. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.75%.

Meanwhile, shares of airlines in Hong Kong and Singapore slipped in Monday trade.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific plunged 4.07% while China Eastern Airlines declined 1.72%. Over in Singapore, shares of Singapore Airlines dipped 0.24%.

The moves came after an anticipated air travel bubble between the two cities was delayed. Hong Kong has seen a recent increase in coronavirus cases.

On the economic data front, Singapore’s economy contracted 5.8% in the third quarter, according to the country’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. The economy is now expected to contract by between 6% and 6.5% in 2020 compared to a year ago, and bounce back to growth in 2021, said the ministry. The Straits Times index in the country was last about 0.7% higher.

Markets in Japan were closed on Monday for a holiday.

Developments surrounding the coronavirus likely continued to weigh on investor sentiment. South Korea is set to impose stricter distancing regulations for the greater Seoul area and southwestern region in an attempt to stem a resurgence of the coronavirus, according to Yonhap. Meanwhile, the U.S. recently reported nearly 200,000 new virus cases less than a week before Thanksgiving.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, as international benchmark Brent crude futures rose 1.27% to $45.53 per barrel. U.S. crude futures added 1.08% to $42.88 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.253 following a recent decline from levels above 92.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.81 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 104.4 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7312 after turbulent trading last week that saw the currency above $0.732 and below $0.729.