NEW YORK: Asian stocks opened firmer on Tuesday after the S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes hit record highs on news of another promising coronavirus vaccine, which supported hopes of a quicker economic recovery.
Investor sentiment shot up after Moderna Inc said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing infection based on interim late-state data.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm became the second drugmaker, after Pfizer Inc, to announce promising trial data in the development of a vaccine to defeat the pandemic. Its shares gained 9.6% on the day.
“This is a continuation of what we saw last week as the vaccine being a catalyst for a rotation into cyclical sectors such as energy, financials, and defence with expectations for renewed demand and travel,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital in New York.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6% in early trading, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures gained 0.27%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.5%.
All three main Wall Street indexes advanced on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrials Average setting a record as it neared the 30,000 mark for the first time in nine months. The benchmark Dow is the last of the three to reclaim levels reached in February, before lockdowns sent the markets into free-fall. The S&P 500 surpassed its own record set on Friday.
Cyclical and small cap names, which generally benefit the soonest as an economy recovers from a recession, led the way, with energy, industrials and financials the top-performing s