Asia-Pacific Markets Nudge Higher as China's Industrial Profits for October Surge

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • China's industrial profits surged 28.2% year-on-year in October, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Friday.
  • As the race for a coronavirus vaccine continues, questions have been raised over AstraZeneca's vaccine candidate, for which the firm said combined results revealed it to be 70% effective.
  • Markets had gotten a boost earlier this week after the interim analysis of clinical trials were released by AstraZeneca.

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific nudged higher on Friday as investors reacted to data on China's industrial profits for October.

Markets also scrutinized concerns over the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, with results and methods used in their phase three vaccine trials under criticism from experts in the U.S.

Mainland Chinese markets saw gains on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 1.14% to about 3,408.31 while the Shenzhen component added 0.668% to around 13,690.88.

China's industrial profits surged 28.2% year-on-year in October, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Friday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was about 0.6% higher, as of its final hour of trading.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.4% higher at 26,644.71 while the Topix index added 0.47% to finish its trading day at 1,786.52. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.29% to close at 2,633.45.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia dipped, with the S&P/ASX 200 down by 0.53% on the day to 6,601.10.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.24%.

Vaccine concerns

As the race for a coronavirus vaccine continues, questions are being raised over AstraZeneca's vaccine candidate, for which the firm said combined results revealed it to be 70% effective.

Markets had gotten a boost earlier this week after the interim analysis of clinical trials were released by AstraZeneca. That development had come on the back of a string of encouraging vaccine results after late-stage trial readouts from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, raising hopes of a recovery from the pandemic that has crippled economies globally.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.919 following its decline earlier this week from levels above 92.4.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.01 per dollar, as compared to an earlier low of 104.28 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7378, after rising from levels below $0.732 earlier this week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.13% to $47.74 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dropped 1.77% to $44.90 per barrel.

— CNBC's Natasha Turak and Sam Meredith contributed to this report.

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