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Asia-Pacific stocks rise; Trump’s health condition watched following Covid-19 diagnosis


SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific traded higher Monday morning as investors watched for developments on U.S. President Donald Trump’s health after he tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

Meanwhile, stocks in Australia jumped in morning trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 up about 2.2% as shares of the country’s major banks surged: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group gained 3.98%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 2.75%, Westpac rose 4.04% and National Australia Bank soared 3.69%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.34% in early trade as the Topix index gained 1.68%. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.35%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan traded 0.41% higher.

Markets in China are closed on Monday for a holiday.

Investors likely continued to watch the situation surrounding Trump’s health, with questions remaining over his condition after his doctors announced Sunday that they had begun treating him with dexamethasone, a steroid recommended for severe cases of Covid-19. Still, the U.S. president’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said Sunday that his condition has improved and may be discharged as soon as Monday.

The U.S. president was transferred to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday after he was given antiviral drug remdesivir. 

Meanwhile, Trump’s Democratic challenger at the upcoming November presidential election, former Vice President Joe Biden, tested negative for the coronavirus — according to his campaign.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.831 after its decline last week from levels above 94.4

The Japanese yen traded at 105.51 per dollar after strengthening sharply late last week to levels around 105 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7177 after its rise last week from levels below $0.707.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up about 1% to $39.66 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also advanced 1.27% to $37.52 per barrel.



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