Asian markets fall as virus surge leads to new lockdowns

Asian markets fall as virus surge leads to new lockdowns

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Hong Kong: Asian markets fell across the board on Tuesday, as the surge in viral infections forced the government to adopt more stringent containment measures, surpassing the introduction of vaccines in the United States and the United Kingdom, while the pound rose due to hopes for a post-Brexit trade agreement.

The downbeat mood also comes despite some optimism that US lawmakers are inching towards finally agreeing a new stimulus for the world’s top economy.

Investors have taken a breather this month after November’s spectacular rally powered by the news of vaccines being shown to be effective and Joe Biden’s election victory.

“Signs of market fatigue are more prevalent today than a month ago, even as the popular average is near all-time highs,” Paul Nolte, at Kingsview Investment Management, said in a note.

“The much-awaited correction could come as investors tire of Washington, worry about the Covid cases over the holidays, or some other concern that is likely to pass in a few months.”

When the United States began vaccination on Monday, its death toll reached 300,000. Analysts warned that despite the sunlight at the end of the tunnel, there was still a lot of pain.

The soaring number of cases has forced leaders to take measures to stop the spread of the disease, and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said a “complete shutdown” may be announced soon.

Following this, countries all over the world are striving to control the crisis. London faces new strict restrictions as the rest of the UK has entered the highest level of containment, and the Netherlands is preparing to enter the strictest lockdown since the pandemic began.

Turkey, France and Germany also adopted stricter measures before the Christmas holiday.

The Dow and S&P 500 both fell on Wall Street but the Nasdaq rose as tech firms benefit from people being forced to stay home.

Asia fared no better, with Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul and Singapore leading losses across the region.

There was little movement from news that China’s economy continued to improve last month, with retail sales and industrial output growing in line with expectations.

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