Asian Markets Rise Amid Positive U.S. Data, Coronavirus Cure Hope

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By Alex Ho – Asian markets continued their recovery on Thursday morning following the release of positive U.S. data overnight.

The Index surged 2.1% by 10:45 PM ET (02:45 GMT).

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, said in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon that the city will quarantine people arriving from mainland China starting on Feb. 8.

Lam said the situation was “worrying” as the virus spread among residents who had not recently travelled to China. “The next 14 days are very critical,” Lam said. “We have to prevent the virus from spreading in the community.”

Earlier this week, Lam shut down some border crossings with the mainland but refused to fully close all the borders.

China’s gained 1.0%, while the rose 1.9%.

Japan’s climbed 2.3%, while South Korea’s advanced 2.0%.

Investor sentiment improved somewhat today following unconfirmed reports of breakthroughs in the development of a drug for the disease.

A research team at Zhejiang University had found a drug to treat people infected by the new coronavirus, according a Reuters report on Wednesday.

Despite the report, the World Health Organization said yesterday that “there are no known effective therapeutics against this 2019-nCoV.”

Down under, Australia’s gained 0.9%. Thursday data release by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed the country’s turnover declined 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis in December as compared to November.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the impact of the virus on Australia’s economy is likely to be “significant.”

“We need to be clear about the full extent of the virus and how much further it will spread, the success of containment measures in other jurisdictions, that is not known and that’s why I think a scenario analysis is really important,” Morrison said. “And that’s being done now.”

Overnight, U.S. stocks closed higher, with the hitting a record peak after The ADP (NASDAQ:) National Employment Report showed private payrolls jumped 291,000 jobs in January, the most since May 2015, while a separate report showed U.S. services sector activity picked up last month.

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