Asian markets kick off week higher on hopes of U.S. fiscal package prior to elections

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Coronavirus vaccine expectations by year’s end also driving rise

SYDNEY – Asian markets started higher on Monday, buoyed by hopes of a U.S fiscal package before the U.S. presidential elections next month and expectations of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year, though the mood was still cautious as infections jump.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS added 0.26% for its second straight day of gains.

The index has risen in eight of the last 10 sessions amid a rally in risk assets buoyed by hopes of a coronavirus vaccine and expectations of a so called “blue wave”, which would see the Democrats claim victory in November’s elections.

Boosting overall sentiment, drugmaker Pfizer Inc PFE.N said on Friday it could have a coronavirus vaccine ready in the United States by the end of this year.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 climbed about 1% while South Korea’s KOSPI and Australian shares .AXJO were up 0.7% each.

New Zealand .NZ50 was a tad lower after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a second term at elections over the weekend, having risen over the week in anticipation of such a result.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 jumped 0.5% in early Asian trading after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday she was optimistic legislation on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package could be pushed through before the election.

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