Asian markets swing as new virus cases emerge


Hong Kong

Asian markets fluctuated Monday as investors kept a nervous eye on a spike in virus infections around the world, while Europe pressed ahead with the easing of lockdown measures.
A wall of cash from governments and central banks around the world also continues to provide much-needed support, though observers say an equities rally from their March trough may have been overcooked.
After enjoying a broadly positive week, traders were playing it safe in early exchanges as they considered news of a worrying jump in fresh cases in several US states including California, Texas and Florida, while China, Australia and Japan are also battling new outbreaks.
That comes after the World Health Organization last week warned of a “new and dangerous phase” of the pandemic, with people tiring of lockdowns despite the disease’s accelerating spread. US investors were spooked Friday when Apple said it would shut some stores it had recently reopened because of new cases.
At the same time, though, European countries are slowly emerging from their economy-sapping lockdowns, with Spain opening its borders, welcoming flights, while schools, cinemas and theatres reopened in France.
“Global stocks are finding support (in) that for now, rising daily COVID-19 cases are staying local and failing to have a global impact. So investors can take some solace in that,” said Stephen Innes at AxiCorp. “What is vital for the economy is whether governments reimpose wide-sweeping lockdowns. With the overall count low globally, that’s unlikely, whereas proximity or soft lockdowns like in Beijing is more likely.”—AFP