Asian shares drop amid virus fears, Afghanistan unrest
Asian shares went down in early trade on Tuesday amid mounting concerns over the surge in the number of coronavirus infections due to the Delta variant. The turmoil in Afghanistan has also overshadowed the overnight strength on Wall Street.
The continued increase of novel variants of the COVID-19 and its effect on the global economy have dented market confidence, with traders keeping an eye out for reports from major retailers due later in the week.
Meanwhile, investors were also keeping tabs on news from Afghanistan, where thousands of civilians have flooded the Kabul airport in a desperate bid to flee the country. The Taliban has seized the country’s capital and declared the war against foreign and local forces over.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4% early in the Asian trading day. Meanwhile, US stock futures, S&P 500 e-minis, edged down 0.18%.
In Australia, shares plunged 0.75%, while in Japan, the Nikkei stock index made a 0.22% gain.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 dipped 0.18% in early trade, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index took a 0.4% loss.
Wall Street bounced back on Monday, boosting two of its three major indices, with the benchmark S&P 500 and the Dow industrials reaching record highs.
In other news, US crude inched up 0.3% to $67.49 a barrel, while Brent crude went up to $69.70 a barrel.