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James Hyerczyk
Asia Pacific Shares

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes are trading higher on Monday, boosted by hopes of a coronavirus vaccine, acquisition news and politics. However, sentiment remained cautious ahead of a big week of central bank meetings in the U.K., Japan and the United States.

In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is trading 23542.51, up 136.02 or +0.58%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index is at 2424.14, up 27.45 or +1.15% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is at 24667.61, up 164.30 or +0.67%.

In China, the Shanghai Index is trading 3267.13, up 6.78 or +0.21% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index is at 5879.30, up 19.90 or +0.34%.

Coronavirus Vaccine Hopes Rekindled as AstraZeneca Resumes Phase-3 Trial

AstraZeneca said on the weekend it has resumed British clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced in development, after getting the green light from safety watchdogs.

The late-stage trials of the experimental vaccine, developed with researchers from the University of Oxford, were suspended last week after an illness in a study subject in Britain, casting doubts on an early rollout.

A vaccine has long been awaited to help pull the world out of a coronavirus-induced lockdown. Friday marked six months since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11.

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Nvidia to Buy Chip Designer Arm for $40 Billion as SoftBank Exits

Nvidia will buy UK-based chip designer Arm from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp for as much as $40 billion, the companies said on Monday, in a deal set to reshape the global semiconductor landscape.

Nvidia will pay SoftBank $21.5 billion in shares and $12 billion in cash, including $2 billion on signing. The deal will see SoftBank and its $100 billion Vision Fund, which has a 25% in Arm, take a stake in Nvidia of between 6.7% and 8.1%.

Shares of Japan’s SoftBank Group soared 10.26% in Monday afternoon trading.

Japan’s Suga Poised to Win Party Race, Headed for Premiership

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, a longtime loyal aide of outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was poised to win a ruling party leadership election on Monday, virtually ensuring that he replaces Abe this week in the nation’s top job.

Suga, who has said he would pursue Abe’s key economic and foreign policies, is expected to get the bulk of votes from 394 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers and is likely to win a majority of 141 votes from the party’s local chapters.

Suga was on track to win over 70% of the MP’s votes and was leading among local chapters, public broadcaster NHK reported.

China Stocks Rise as STAR Market Shines on Regulatory Nod to Launch ETFs

Chinese shares rose on Monday, with Shanghai’s NASDAQ-style STAR Market leading gains after securities regulator approved the first batch of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which are expected to draw fresh funds into the market.

Financial sector climbed up marginally after China issued new rules on Sunday to regulate financial holding companies, in its latest move to prevent systematic risks to the nation’s vast financial sector.

In other news, sources told Reuters that ByteDance abandoned the sale of TikTok in the United States on Sunday in pursuit of a partnership with Oracle Corp that it hopes will spare it a U.S. ban while appeasing China’s government.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

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