GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian markets start on firm footing on vaccine, U.S. aid hopes

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian markets start on firm footing on vaccine, U.S. aid hopes

Asian markets started higher on Monday, buoyed by hopes of a U.S fiscal package before the U.S. presidential elections next month and expectations of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year, though the mood was still cautious as infections jump. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.26% for its second straight day of gains. The index has risen in eight of the last 10 sessions amid a rally in risk assets buoyed by hopes of a coronavirus vaccine and expectations of a so called "blue wave", which would see the Democrats claim victory in November's elections. Boosting overall sentiment, drugmaker Pfizer Inc said on Friday it could have a coronavirus vaccine ready in the United States by the end of this year. Japan's Nikkei climbed about 1% while South Korea's KOSPI and Australian shares were up 0.7% each. New Zealand was a tad lower after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a second term at elections over the weekend, having risen over the week in anticipation of such a result. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 jumped 0.5% in early Asian trading after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday she was optimistic legislation on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package could be pushed through before the election. But with her negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in the Middle East until Tuesday, such a timeframe would seem to be overly optimistic, analysts said. Investors are also concerned about rising coronavirus cases ...
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