SINGAPORE – Asia Pacific stocks rose in trading Monday morning after Merck announced its new oral antiviral Covid treatment that reduces the risk of hospitalization or death.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.65% while the Topix index was up 0.78%.
Australian stocks rose, the S & P / ASX 200 rose 1.34%.
MSCI’s broadest index for Asia Pacific stocks outside of Japan traded 0.4% higher.
Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced on Friday that they had developed a drug that reduced the risk of hospitalization or death in Covid patients by about 50%. If approved by regulators, the drug could be the first oral antiviral drug for Covid.
The companies are planning an emergency approval for the antiviral Covid treatment after the drug has shown “convincing results” in clinical studies.
Markets in China are closed for holidays for most of this week and are slated to reopen on Friday. The South Korean markets are also closed on Mondays for a public holiday.
Currencies and oil
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of its competitors, hit 93.948 after falling over 94.4 recently.
The Japanese yen was trading at 110.96 per dollar, stronger than the 112 levels seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7279 after rising from around $ 0.72 late last week.
Oil prices were lower on the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 0.19% to $ 79.13 a barrel. US crude oil futures lost 0.26% to $ 75.68 a barrel.
– CNBC’s Chloe Taylor contributed to this report.