Asian shares, sterling drop on new COVID strain
Asian shares and the pound recorded a subdued performance on Monday. The series of declines could be attributed to investors’ cautious appetite as a new coronavirus strain, which greatly paralyzed large portions of the United Kingdom, dampened markets’ stimulus-driven sentiment.
After hitting multiple record highs last week, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 0.2%. Japan’s Nikkei, on the other hand, shed early gains to trade 0.4% lower. While S&P 500 e-minis started strongly as the U.S. Congress sealed a stimulus deal, they plunged later on with a 0.2% loss.
The sterling saw a 1.2% drop after a newly discovered coronavirus strain prompted several European countries to close their borders. In addition to this, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to hold an emergency response meeting on Monday.