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Asia Pacific stocks drop amid rising virus concerns


Nikkei 225 dropped 2.07%, KOSPI lost 1.50%, the ASX 200 shed 1.39%, Hang Seng Index declined 1.67%, Shanghai Composite dropped 0.10% and the Shenzhen Component fell 0.39%

Asia Pacific stocks were down Wednesday morning, following in U.S. shares’ footsteps as COVID-19 cases continue to resurge globally and overshadowing recent solid corporate earnings.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 2.07% by with Tokyo and Osaka reportedly due to ask that a state of emergency be declared in the country’s two biggest cities.

South Korea’s KOSPI lost 1.50% and in Australia, the ASX 200 shed 1.39%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 1.67%. China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 0.10% and the Shenzhen Component fell 0.39%.

Shares in International Business Machines Corp. jumped after the company reported its largest revenue growth in 11 quarters earlier in the week. However, United Airlines Holdings Inc. reported a bigger-than-expected loss and Netflix Inc. shares also dropped in post-market trading after its first-quarter subscriber growth fell short of the average analyst estimate.

Global shares came under pressure after climbing to record highs after rising coronavirus cases globally raised fears of fresh restrictive measures, threatening economic recovery. The number of coronavirus cases globally surpassed the 142.5-million mark as of Apr. 21, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Slower-than-expected COVID-19 vaccine uptake numbers and worries about side effects have also hampered the global economic recovery after positive uptake numbers were recently reported in the U.S., U.K. and Europe.

U.S. health agencies recommended pausing the usage of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine during the previous week as potential side effects are investigated. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is due to reach a decision about the vaccine on Friday, the European Medicines Agency said on Tuesday that it would resume use of the jab.

The data is very mixed: on the positive side we have great vaccine rollouts that are happening and then the negative is that we have the J&J vaccine being halted, Kayne Anderson Rudnick portfolio manager Julie Biel told Bloomberg.

Is that going to create more vaccine hesitancy? How much of that is going to impact longer-term the ability to reopen? The end of the pandemic is going to be much more of a push-pull, it’s going to happen in increments, Biel added.

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