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Asian Stocks Edge Higher, With Cautious Optimism Over COVID-19 Treatment

Stock MarketsAug 23, 2020 11:03PM ET
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By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Asian stocks were up on Monday morning, with cautious optimism over a new potential COVID-19 treatment using blood plasma from recovered patients helping stocks start the week on a high note.

The U.S. Food and Drugs Administrations (FDA) on Sunday said that it had issued “emergency use approval’ for the treatment, known as convalescent plasma, to be administered to certain patients.

Meanwhile, investors are looking to the Jackson Hole Symposium, due to kick off on Thursday, with U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell due to give more guidance on the U.S. monetary outlook during the two-day event.

“More clarity will no doubt be sought via this week’s Jackson Hole Symposium,” Ben Emons, managing director for global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors, told Bloomberg. Powell is widely expected to touch on the Fed’s monetary policy framework review, focusing on a new inflation strategy, during his speech.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 1.64% by 10:55 PM ET (3;55 AM GMT). China’s Shanghai Composite edged up 0.17% and the Shenzhen Component was up 0.76%.

Investors are keeping an eye on the level of tension in U.S.-China relations, with some investors cautiously optimistic of a ceasefire from the recent tit-for-tats between the two countries.

“We expect the enforcement meeting to proceed smoothly within the next several weeks,” Emons said, referring to trade talks between the U.S. and China that are currently being rescheduled after their postponement earlier in the month.

South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.92%. Earlier in the day, Seoul mandated wearing face masks in both indoor and outdoor public places as the country continues to fight a potential “massive nationwide outbreak” of COVID-19 cases. A total of 266 cases were recorded as of midnight on Sunday, a drop from the 397 cases reported a day earlier but a continuation of more than a week of triple digit readings.

In other news, the Bank of Korea will set its monetary policy on Thursday, with Governor Ju-Yeol Lee stating that there would be no deviation from the current policy.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.26%. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly paid a visit to a Tokyo hospital earlier in the day, his second visit since a visit during the previous week. The hospital visits have stoked doubt about Abe’s health and his ability to continue as prime minister.

Down Under, the ASX 200 rose inched up 0.04%. The state of Victoria reported 116 case over the past 24 hours on Monday, raising hopes that the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne is continuing to subside.

Asian Stocks Edge Higher, With Cautious Optimism Over COVID-19 Treatment
 

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