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  • Asian equities print mild gains as hopes of US stimulus battle virus woes amid a light calendar.
  • US Senators amplify mood to break the stimulus gridlock, Australian regulator approves vaccine.
  • Covid variant infects New Zealand, pushes third lockdown in France, virus conditions worse in Indonesia and the UK.

Asian shares stay mildly bid, except for New Zealand and Indonesia, as global markets weigh US fiscal stimulus hopes and the coronavirus (COVID-19) woes. As result, MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rises 1.0% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 adds over 0.40% gains during early Monday.

While brushing off the chatters over Democratic Party members’ lack of unity to support US President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus, incoming chairman of the US Senate Budget Committee, also a Vermont Senator, Barnie Sanders said, “Democrats will use reconciliation ‘as soon as we possibly can’ to pass Covid-19 relief package.” Also backing the moves could be the need for fiscal stimulus after recently mixed data from the world’s largest economy.

Alternatively, New Zealand’s first case of the covid variant in Northland weighed on the NZX 50, down 0.30% by press time, whereas France is likely to call third national lockdown as early as February amid virus woes. Further on the negative side could be a jump in the Indonesian infections of the COVID-19. As per the latest data from the Indonesian Health Ministry, cases rose by 11,788 whereas the death toll added 171 numbers and pushed authorities to take strict actions. Also challenging Indonesia’s IDX Composite, currently down over 1.0%, are the news that Indonesia recently seized oil tankers from Iran and Panama over ‘illegal’ fuel transfer issues.

It should be noted that Australia’s ASX 200 gains 0.21% as Aussie drug regulator approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for a phased rollout, planned for late February. Furthermore, chatters that Beijing authorities may allow Australian coal shipments to enter the country if they’re agreed before the ban in November, per Bloomberg, seems to have helped the risk as well.

On a different page, Chinese stocks were also following the market mood while those from India add 0.64% gains amid hopes of better growth following recently upbeat data and vaccinations.

Moving on, a lack of major data/events will keep markets gyrated near the record-high levels. However, headlines concerning the virus, lockdowns and US stimulus be the key to watch.

Read: S&P 500 Futures prints mild gains around 3,850 amid mixed clues during quiet session