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Asia share markets broadly up despite rising Omicron cases


MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.24%, Australian shares rose 0.13%, Nikkei stock index fell 0.05%, CSI 300 Index was off 0.04%, Hang Seng Index added 0.27%

Asian share markets were broadly up on Wednesday as the risk appetite of global investors rises heading into year-end, despite the surging number of Omicron COVID-19 variant cases around the world.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.24% in afternoon trade, having been higher earlier in the day.

Australian shares closed up 0.13%, reversing a weaker start which analysts said was the result of a higher U.S. dollar overnight that reduced appetite for commodities and the sector’s related stocks.

Some weakness emerged in Northern Asian markets later in the day.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index was down 0.05% and China’s blue-chip CSI 300 Index was off 0.04%. But in Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index added 0.27% after climbing 1.2% at the start of trade.

Futures trading pointed to a mixed performance in markets in other regions on Wednesday.

Clients are still happy to buy here despite the obvious risks both market- and health-related, mostly they are adding to their existing positions, John Milroy, an Ord Minnett advisor in Sydney told Reuters.

After two years clients are weary of talking about COVID-19 and while acknowledging it are back to focusing on earnings which should be really good in our view, he said.

BOCOM International head of research Hong Hao said China-based investors were more focussed on potential supply-chain issues from any mainland COVID outbreaks.

I would say investors are looking through the COVID-19 case numbers as long as production capacity in China is not impacted, he told Reuters.

He said: Investors seem to be more relaxed. In China, the biggest concern is still the property sector.

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