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Asian Stocks Down as COVID-19 Second Wave Fears Increase

By Gina Lee – Asian stocks were down on Tuesday morning, giving up their gains from the previous session as fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections mount.

South Korea reported 27 new cases on May 11 as its continues to curb a new outbreak originating in nightclubs in the Itaewon area, and has postponed the reopening of schools.

Down Under, the ASX 200 led the losses as it slid 1.55% by 10:17 PM ET (3:17 AM GMT) and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.42%.

China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.07% while the Shenzhen Component lost 0.35%. The country’s National Bureau of Statistics said that the consumer price index for April declined 0.9% month on month but rose 3.3% year on year.

The producer price index for April declined 3.1% year on year.

Analyst forecasts prepared by predicted a decrease of 0.5% in the MoM CPI, a 3.7% increase in the YoY CPI and a 2.6% decrease in the PPI.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.15% and South Korea’s KOSPI lost 1.02%.

Meanwhile, some investors doubted the efficacy of further government stimulus packages.

“It’s hard to see equities powering further higher, “Rob Carnell, ING chief economist and head of research for Asia-Pacific at ING, told CNBC, with much of the boost that the markets had gotten attributable to the “extraordinary accommodative monetary policies and fiscal policies that governments around the world ... have been throwing at their economies.”

“Surely we’ve had just about all we’re going get of those. Any further dollops of stimulus are going be fairly marginal,” he added.

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