The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished lower on Monday with Hong Kong closed for a bank holiday. The direction of the markets was primarily driven by weakness in Europe and lower U.S. futures indexes as new coronavirus cases surged in those regions. Investors fear that rapidly rising COVID-19 cases will detail the current global economic recovery.
In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23494.34, down 22.25 or -0.09% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2343.91, down 16.90 or -0.72%.
China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3251.12, down 26.88 or -0.82% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6155.60, down 11.40 or -0.18%.
Rising COVID-19 Cases in the United States and Europe
Investor focus on Monday was primarily on the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the West, with the U.S. recently reporting a record-breaking number of new virus cases.
In Europe, cases have also surged, with Reuters reporting that France registered record daily coronavirus infections while Italy ordered bars to close early and shut gyms in a bid to stem a resurgence in the virus.
China’s Leaders Meet to Ponder Its Future
Chinese blue chips shed 0.82% as the country’s leaders met to chart the nation’s economic course for 2021-2025, balancing growth with reforms amid an uncertain global outlook and deepening tensions with the United States.
China to Impose Sanctions on US Firms Over Taiwan Arms Sales
China will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, Raytheon and other U.S. companies it says are involved in Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday.
Zhao Lijian told journalists that China was acting to protect its national interest, but did not spell out what form the sanctions would take.
The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of three weapons systems to Taiwan, including sensors, missiles and artillery that could have a total value of $1.8 billion, the Pentagon said last week.
Lee Kun-hee, Who Made South Korea’s Samsung a Global Powerhouse, Dies at 78
Lee Kun-hee, who built Samsung Electronics into a global powerhouse in smartphones, semiconductors and televisions, died on Sunday after spending more than six years in the hospital following a heart attack, the company said.
Lee’s aggressive bets on new businesses, especially semiconductors, helped grow the conglomerate his father Lee Byung-chull built from a noodle trading business into a global powerhouse with assets worth $375 billion, including dozens of affiliates stretching from electronics and insurance to shipbuilding and construction.