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Asian Markets Stable even as Investors Remain Cautious on U.S.- China tensions

Asia Pacific markets traded mostly higher on Monday but investors remained cautious over heightened U.S.-China tensions in recent weeks.

South Korea’s Kospi index gained 1.48% to 2,386.38 as shares of automakers surged. Hyundai Motor added 15.65% while Kia Motors gained 9.7%.

Hyundai shares jumped as the automaker said three new battery electric vehicle models will be launched over the next four years, with more to follow, under its Ioniq brand. Hyundai said it plans to become the world’s third-largest electric vehicle maker by 2025.

Some of the big technology names also advanced. Samsung Electronics shares rose 0.52%, trimming some of its earlier gains of around 1.39%. SK Hynix shares rose 0.99% while LG Electronics gained 11.01%.

In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 rose 1.76% to 6,110.20, with all sectors finishing higher. The heavily weighted financials subindex was up 2.6% as major banks advanced.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7154 as of 3:14 p.m. HK/SIN, retreating from an earlier high of $0.7172.

Australia is tackling a fresh wave of coronavirus outbreak in Victoria state, which accounts for the majority of reported cases and deaths in the country. In an effort to slow the spread of infection, the state has imposed strict lockdown measures limiting people’s movements and closed large parts of the economy.

Chinese mainland markets reversed earlier losses to advance: The Shanghai composite rose 0.75% to 3,379.25, the Shenzhen component index was fractionally higher at 13,657.31 and the Shenzhen composite was up 0.2% to 2,277.42.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index retraced earlier losses of more than 1% to trade down 0.6%. The technology-focused Hang Seng Tech Index fell 2.89%.

Markets in Japan are closed Monday for a public holiday.

U.S. futures traded mixed early Monday morning ET after the president signed several executive orders aimed at extending coronavirus relief — infection cases in the U.S. topped 5 million.

The U.S. dollar traded at 93.480 against a basket of its peers as of 3:18 p.m. HK/SIN, climbing from an earlier low around 93.296.

Oil prices rose Monday during Asian hours. U.S. crude added 1.24% to $41.73 per barrel while global benchmark Brent was up 0.81% to $44.76.

Source: Asian Stock Exchanges Data, Australia S&P Index, Bloomberg, CNBC LLC