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  • Asian shares dribble as fears of virus variants battle vaccine, stimulus hopes.
  • South Korea makes diplomatic efforts to regain tanker details in Iran, the US interferes.
  • Japan to halt travel deal with China, South Korea amid virus resurgence, eying ban on all foreign travels.

Equities in Asia-Pacific look for clear direction as the coronavirus (COVID-19) fears combat vaccine news and expectations of Democratic victory in Georgia during early Tuesday. As a result, MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan steps back from the record high, flashed the previous day, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 follows the suit with 0.30% intraday losses by press time.

Shares in Australia also remain on the back foot, ASX 200 down 0.35% by the time of press, even as Aussie PM Scott Morrison hints at receding virus pressure inside the Pacific major. On the contrary, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga said, as per Nikkei, to decide on a national emergency as early as Thursday.

The UK, Germany and France are tightening activity restrictions as the covid variants trigger pandemic fears. The virus strain traced from South Africa becomes a major threat as medical professionals from the UK suggest a higher infection rate and resilience against vaccines for the same.

It should be noted that South Korea is in confrontation with Iran and the US interferes to help the Asian nation regain its vessels locked in Tehran. The same escalates risk-off mood as American earlier cited global threats from the Middle East nation citing its nuclear efforts.

Elsewhere, Chinese shares recover some of the latest losses while equities from Indian, Hong Kong and South Korea flash mild losses.

Other than the risk catalysts mentioned above, increasing odds of Democratic victory in the Georgian election runoff, which will offer Senate back-up to Joe Biden, favor the risks. Also on the positive side are comments from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signaling a higher success ratio of leading covid vaccines.

Amid these plays, S&P 500 Futures consolidate the previous day’s losses while the US 10-year Treasury yields also follow the suit as taking rounds to 0.92% by press time.

As the economic calendar remains mostly silent in Asia, also likely to stay the same ahead of the US session, risk catalysts will be the key to watch.

Read: S&P 500 Futures regain 3,700 amid fresh vaccine hopes