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Asia markets steady, dollar rises

by Jonathan Adams
dollar rises

Stocks drop in Japan and rise in Australia, China stocks gain

Asian stock markets were steady Wednesday after U.S. shares retreated as investors weighed escalating Covid-19 cases against optimism over a vaccine.

Stocks fell in Japan and edged up Australia.

China stocks posted modest gains, shrugging off news that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is pushing ahead with a plan that may remove Chinese companies off U.S. stock exchanges.

In the U.S., the S&P 500 futures dipped following the gauge’s pull back from a record high earlier. Pharmacy chains were among the worst performers after Amazon.com Inc. unveiled a new push into prescription drugs.

Investors are taking a pause after sending stocks to all-time highs Monday in the wake of progress toward a vaccine. Wide distribution of a shot is still months away, and cases are spreading quickly in the U.S. and Europe.

On the stimulus front, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to resume negotiations, while McConnell stuck to his insistence on a targeted package.

With the election uncertainty out of the way it’s about Covid; we’ve seen this exponential growth in cases, said David Kudla, Mainstay Capital Management CEO and chief investment strategist. It’s also about fiscal stimulus, when that finally comes, how much we get. We know we have good news on the vaccines, but those are out in the future.

Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said that a key safety milestone had been reached in the study of its vaccine, and the drug maker is now preparing to seek an emergency-use authorization.

Treasury yields extended declines after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy still has a “long way to go” before it fully recovers from the pandemic.

Oil and gold slipped.

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