- Asia-Pacific stocks rose in Monday morning trade.
- Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced Friday they’ve developed a drug which reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by around 50% in Covid patients.
- Markets in China are closed for most of this week for holidays and are set to reopen on Friday. South Korean markets are also closed on Monday for a holiday.
SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific rose in Monday morning trade after Merck announced its new Covid oral antiviral treatment that cuts the risk of hospitalization or death.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.65% while the Topix index advanced 0.78%.
Australian stocks jumped, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.34%.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.4% higher.
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Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced Friday they've developed a drug which reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by around 50% in Covid patients. If authorized by regulatory bodies, the drug could be the first oral antiviral medicine for Covid.
The companies plan to seek emergency authorization for the antiviral Covid treatment after the medicine showed "compelling results" in clinical trials.
Markets in China are closed for most of this week for holidays and are set to reopen on Friday. South Korean markets are also closed on Monday for a holiday.
Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.948 after a recent decline from above 94.4.
The Japanese yen traded at 110.96 per dollar, stronger than levels around 112 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7279 following a bounce late last week from around $0.72.
Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.19% to $79.13 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.26% to $75.68 per barrel.
– CNBC's Chloe Taylor contributed to this report.
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