China industrial profits, coronavirus vaccine, currencies, oil

Singapore – Stocks in Asia-Pacific changed slightly on Friday as investors reacted to China’s industrial profit figures for October.

Markets will examine concerns over the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, the results and methods used in their phase three vaccine trials under criticism from experts in the US.

Mainland Chinese markets reported early trading gains, with Shanghai losing 0.4%, while the Shenzhen component gaining 0.308%.

The country’s National Bureau of Statistics announced on Friday that China’s industrial profit rose by 28.2% in October.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.19%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.3% while the Topics index rose 0.59%. Cospi of South Korea grew by 0.3%.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia are down nearly 0.5% with the S&P / ASX 200.

MSCI’s largest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was partially traded.

Vaccine anxiety

As the race for a coronavirus vaccine continues, AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate is being questioned, for which the firm said the combined results showed it to be 70% effective.

The market received a boost earlier this week after AstraZeneca released interim analysis of clinical trials. The development came in a round of encouraging vaccine outcomes following late-stage trial readouts from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which raised hopes of recovering from an epidemic that had damaged economies around the world.

Currencies and oil

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.48 which fell from a level above 92.4 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 104 per dollar, still below the 104 level against the greenback seen earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7358 after rising from levels below $ 0.732 earlier this week.

Oil prices were mixed on the morning of Asia’s trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures rising 0.25% to $ 47.92 a barrel. US crude futures fell 1.53% to $ 45.01 a barrel.

– Natasha Turuck and Sam Meredith of CNBC contributed to this report.

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