Thu, 21 Jan 2021

SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Stocks in Asia continued to meander on Friday, while demand for the U.S. dollar continued to intensify.

Indices around the world have moved to or beyond record highs despite the devastating Covid-19 pandemic. Much of the buying has been accentuated since the emergence of a potential vaccine or vaccines.

"Stock markets are behaving as if the world has already overcome the disease. In reality it will take time before vaccines will reach every corner of the world and infections start to decline," Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities told Reuters Thomson Friday.

"Given the rapid pace of gains in stock prices over the past month, there will be some profit-taking. Nevertheless, I don't think the market is peaking just yet."

At the close in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was down 58.13 points or 0.22 percent at 26,751.24.

The Australian All Ordinaries edged up 18.00 points or 0.26 percent to 6,865.30.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng climbed 107.42 points or 0.40 percent to 26,835.92, while China's Shanghai Composite added 2.45 points or 0.07 percent to 3,444.58.

On foreign exchange markets, the euro consolidated above 1.2150 in the Asian session. The British pound appreciated strongly to 1.3467. The Japanese yen was little changed at 103.86. The Swiss franc firmed to 0.8904.

The Canadian dollar inched down to 1.2851. The Australian dollar was a few points weaker at 0.7433. The New Zealand dollar was unchanged at 0.7067.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones index was ahead 85.73 points or 0.29 percent at 29,969.52.

The Standard and Poor's 500 finished 2.29 points or 0.06 percent lower at 3,666.72.

The Nasdaq Composite advanced 27.82 points or 0.23 percent to 12,377.18.

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