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FDA’s Decision Helped to Boost Stocks in Asia

Stocks in Asia-Pacific strengthened their positions on Tuesday, with Hong Kong stocks leading gains among the region’s main markets. That came after Nasdaq Composite rose to a record closing high overnight following the FDA’s full approval of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine. Till this week, the mRNA vaccine was on the U.S. market under an emergency use authorization that was granted by the FDA in 2020.

Scientists who work for the FDA evaluated “hundreds of thousands of pages” of vaccine data from 40,000 trial participants. BioNTech and Pfizer submitted a Biologics License Application, which secures full approval, to the agency on May 7 for patients age 16 and up. Based on the information provided by the U.S. agency, the vaccine was 91% effective in preventing Covid.

Unfortunately, many Americans are still hesitant about getting vaccinated, even as the highly contagious delta variant spreads. The agency’s decision may convince some Americans that the shots are safe, according to doctors and epidemiologists. Its decision is also likely to spur a new wave of vaccine mandates from Corporate America. Main companies such as Walmart and Walt Disney already told some or all of their employees that they must get vaccinated against Covid this fall.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 2.46% to 25,727.92. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese companies jumped on Tuesday. Shares of internet titan Tencent gained 8.81% while Meituan rose 13.51% and Alibaba added 9.47%. The Hang Seng Tech index advanced 7.06%.

At the same time, BYD’s semiconductor business was among 40 IPOs that were suspended as China’s bourses investigate intermediaries in those deals. In spite of challenges, shares of BYD in Hong Kong gained 1.06% on Tuesday.

Mainland Chinese stocks also saw gains on the day, as the Shanghai composite added 1.07% to 3,514.47. The Shenzhen component rose 0.878% to 14,663.55.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.87% to end its trading day at 27,732.10, as shares of Softbank Group jumped about 2%. The Topix index rose 1% to close at 1,934.20. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.56% to finish its trading day at 3,138.30.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.17% to 7,503.

On Monday, the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.55% to 14,942.65. The S&P 500 rose 0.85% to 4,479.53 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 215.63 points to 35,335.71.

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