Asia Pacific stocks fall on US jobs, Omicron’s concerns
Asia Pacific markets fell Monday morning after traders considered the fallout from Friday’s US jobs data and the spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant.
Japan’s Topix fell 0.8 percent and South Korea’s Kospi lost more than 1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell as much as 0.4 percent in early trade.
US futures rose after falling on Friday, with S&P 500 futures up 0.4 percent. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury, which moves inversely with its price, rose just under 5 basis points to 1.39 percent.
The US slips came on the heels of news that the US added far fewer jobs than expected last month, but unemployment still fell to its lowest level since the start of the pandemic.
And Brent crude contracts for February delivery rose 2.2 percent, to trade at a level just below $71.40 a barrel.
Hong Kong futures fell 1.7 percent before the opening.
What are you watching in Asia today
Aung San Suu Kyi: The first verdicts in the ousted Myanmar leader’s trial, which was postponed from November 30, are due to be announced.
Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin: The Indian Prime Minister will host the Russian President for a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of the annual India-Russia summit, where 10 bilateral agreements are due to be signed.
Hang Seng Index: The Hong Kong benchmark underwent a drastic change today with the joining of gaming company NetEase and e-commerce group JD.com. Evergrande, the country’s debt-laden real estate developer, will be removed from the Hang Seng China Enterprises index.
markets: Asian stocks appeared poised to start the week lower with futures lower in Hong Kong and Japan and Australian markets flat in early trade.
Rap is confident that COVID won’t cancel Christmas
British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has predicted Britons will enjoy a “great Christmas” amid hopes in Downing Street that no new Covid-19 restrictions will be needed in England before the new year to deal with the Omicron variant.
Ministers believe that new and existing measures to combat Covid – including a planned expansion of the Vaccine Enhancement Program and new requirements for travelers to the UK to take pre-departure coronavirus testing – will be sufficient for now.
Raab hit a bullish note on Sunday, saying that this Christmas will be “completely different” than the last and that people should confidently plan to spend time with family and friends.
“I think it will be a great Christmas,” the justice minister told the BBC. “I think people should enjoy Christmas, have loved ones around them, and celebrate it in a way that we weren’t able to do in the past.”
Asked if companies should carry on with their plans for big Christmas parties, he said that “employers can be trusted to take a logical approach to the conditions in their business”.
Boris Johnson and his team are expected to review the latest data on Omicron around December 16, but one of the prime minister’s allies has played down the prospect of any additional restrictions being imposed before Christmas, saying: “Our ambition is that there will be no need for anything new from this New Year’s side. “.
Read more about rap comments on Christmas.
Brawl marred Eric Zemmour’s first campaign big rally
Clashes erupted at the first election rally organized by Eric Zemmour, the anti-immigrant running for French president, after activists from an anti-racism organization sought to boycott his speech.
Shortly after Zemmour began speaking to a crowd of more than 10,000 people in a conference hall outside Paris, activists from SOS Racisme stood up to reveal black T-shirts written with the slogan “No to Racism”. They were beaten by Zammour supporters, and videos taken by journalists showed men punching activists and hurling chairs, while security officials tried to break up the scuffle.
The episode ended quickly but showed how Zemmour’s far-right candidacy has sparked tensions in France, where the TV analyst and writer has risen in opinion polls since the summer. As his supporters waved French flags in a northern suburb of the capital, nearly 8,000 others took to the streets of Paris to denounce his xenophobic platform. Police said they made 48 arrests.
The 63-year-old, who argues that France was once in a state of decline due to uncontrolled immigration and excessive political correctness, climbed to second place in opinion polls in early November. But his popularity has recently waned, falling to third place behind President Emmanuel Macron and far-right politician Marine Le Pen, according to a Harris Interactive poll.
Read more about Eric Zemmour’s career.