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

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.

Continue Reading Below

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.

AMID TENSIONS WITH CHINA, INDIA WARNS AMAZON, FLIPKART OVER COUNTRY OF ORIGIN RULE

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.

A man looks at an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo. Asian markets started higher on Monday, buoyed by hopes of a U.S fiscal package before the U.S. presidential elections next month and expectation

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.