Asia-Pacific stocks higher as optimism rises on Pfizer's vaccine approval

  • The Bank of Japan's quarterly tankan survey showed on Monday business sentiment in Japan improving in the three months to December.
  • In coronavirus developments stateside, CDC Director Robert Redfield has signed off on Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine, allowing inoculations to officially move forward for people ages 16 or older.

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific saw gains in Monday morning trade, as optimism rose on the approval of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.69% in morning trade while the Topix index rose 0.89%.

The Bank of Japan's quarterly tankan survey showed on Monday business sentiment in Japan improving in the three months to December. The headline index for big manufacturers' sentiment improved to minus 10 as compared with minus 27 in September. A median market forecast had expected the figure to come in at minus 15, according to Reuters.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi added 0.24%, recovering from an earlier dip. Meanwhile, shares in Australia edged higher, with the S&P/ASX 200 up around 0.4%.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.12% higher.

In coronavirus developments stateside, CDC Director Robert Redfield has signed off on Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine, allowing inoculations to officially move forward for people ages 16 or older. That came following the FDA emergency authorization of Pfizer's vaccine. The U.S. has begun to ship the doses to hundreds of distribution centers across the country.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.797 after recently seeing levels above 91.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.98 per dollar following a strengthening last week form levels above 104.4 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7544, having risen from levels below $0.749 last week.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.18% to $50.06 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.17% to $46.65 per barrel.

— CNBC's Emma Newburger contributed to this report.

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