Asia Mixed as COVID Flares up in West

Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed on Monday as new coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. as well in countries across Europe.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 22.25 points, or 0.1%, to 23,494.34. The Japanese yen traded at 104.94 per U.S. dollar after strengthening from levels above 105 against the greenback last week.

Korean stocks went south as well. Shares of firms affiliated to conglomerate Samsung Group were mixed following the passing of Samsung Electronics Chairman, Lee Kun-hee.

Samsung C&T surged more than 19% while Samsung Life Insurance soared 6.3%. Samsung Electronics edged 0.5% higher. Samsung SDI and Samsung Heavy Industries skidded 1.3%, and Samsung Heavy Industries slipped 0.8%.

Markets in Hong Kong and New Zealand were shuttered for holiday.

Investor focus on Monday was also likely on the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the West, with the U.S. recently reporting a record-breaking number of new virus cases.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7109 following a rise from levels below $0.704 in the previous trading week.

CHINA

Developments out of China were watched, as the country’s top leaders meet this week to plan for the next five years.

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dropped 27.26 points, or 0.6%, to 4,691.23.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index ditched 16.9 points, or 0.7%, to 2,343.91.

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index regained 10.21 points, or 0.1%, to 12,909.03.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index docked 14.08 points, or 0.6%, to 2,523.31.

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 11.42 points, or 0.2%, to 6,155.63.