Australia and Japan shares rise as Omicron fears abate
05:53, 8 December 2021
Stock markets in Australia and Japan extended gains on Wednesday as fears over the Omicron Covid-19 variant eased.
Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the US President, told AFP that early feedback suggest that the Omicron variant “might even be less severe” than the Delta variant.
Fauci added results from lab experiments that test the effectiveness of available vaccines against the latest Covid-19 variant will be out in “next few days to a week”. However, Fauci warned that the Omicron variant was more transmissible than the Delta strain.
Energy stocks up
On Monday, Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed higher for the fourth straight day, up 1.4% to 7,417.70 points.
S&P/ASX 200 Energy index rose 1.5% on the back of a jump in oil prices. Woodside Petroleum gained over 2% on Wednesday after the company said it will invest AUD5bn ($3.6bn) in new energy markets by 2030.
S&P/ASX All Technology index and S&P/ASX 300 Metal & Mining gained over 2% each with buy now, pay later firm Afterpay and lithium miner Pilbara Minerals among top gainers, up 4.2% and 5.5%, respectively.
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Alibaba drags Hong Kong
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1.3% to 28,829.50 on Wednesday. The benchmark index closed 1.9% higher on Tuesday.
Topix-17 Pharmaceutical was the top performing sectoral index on Wednesday posting a gain of 1.8%.