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Nov 30, 2020
9:11PM

Asian markets end lower despite optimism over progress in COVID-19

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Asian markets ended lower on Monday, despite optimism over progress in COVID-19 vaccine development and fading uncertainty surrounding the US election but upbeat China manufacturing data capped losses. So Japan's Nikkei-225 index fell 0.8 percent; China's Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.5 percent; Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 2.1 percent; South Korea's Kospi index declined 1.6 percent and Singapore's Straits Times index lost 1.8 percent.
 
Meanwhile, in economic news, China’s factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than three years in November, while growth in the services sector also hit a multi-year high, with recent production data showing manufacturing now at pre-pandemic levels.
   
In Europe, key stock indices traded flat with focus on Brexit negotiations and the prospect of easing coronavirus restrictions and hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine.
 
The investors await news of a call between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, seen as the first sign of movement either towards a trade deal or of talks crumbling five weeks ahead of the deadline. So, London's FTSE-100 had gained 0.3 percent and Germany's DAX had added 0.4 percent but France's CAC-40 was trading flat, in intra-day trade.

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