Asia markets: Donald Trump, coronavirus, currencies


SINGAPORE — Stocks in Japan were set to trade higher at the open as investors watched for developments on U.S. President Donald Trump’s health after he tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 23,400, while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,190. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,029.90.

Meanwhile, stocks in Australia jumped in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 up about 2% as shares of the country’s major banks surged: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group gained 3.4%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 2.62%, Westpac rose 3.2% and National Australia Bank soared 3.66%.

Markets in China are closed on Monday for a holiday.

Investors will likely continue 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

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.829 after its decline last week from levels above 94.4

The Japanese yen traded at 105.57 per dollar after strengthening sharply late last week to levels around 105 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7167 after its rise last week from levels below $0.707.



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