In Tokyo, where investors returned after a long weekend, the stock market closed slightly higher on Tuesday.
The Japanese pharmaceutical sector, in particular, has been in the spotlight after reports of a new effective treatment for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The other stock markets in the Asian region showed a mixed picture.
The sharp increase in the number of corona infections worldwide and the political developments in Washington surrounding the impeachment procedure against President Donald Trump caused some reluctance among investors.
The Japanese main index, the Nikkei 225, ended with a plus of 0.1 percent at 28,164.34 points. News of a new variant of the coronavirus in Japan, which partly resembles the mutated British and South African virus variants, kept the stock market in check. Chugai Pharmaceutical rose more than 6 percent.
According to the UK government, Chugai’s drug tocilizumab lowers the risk of death in corona patients. Patients who receive the medicine for rheumatoid arthritis also spend less time in hospital. Other pharmaceutical companies such as Takeda Pharmaceutical and Eisai also benefited from the news and progressed up to 3 percent.
In Shanghai, the stock market climbed 1.2 percent in the meantime, and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 0.7 percent. The Kospi in Seoul lost 2 percent. Investors took some profit after the nearly 10 percent jump in the South Korean stock market in the first week of the new year.
Hyundai fell almost 5 percent. The auto company grew in value by about 30 percent in the past two trading days thanks to reports of a possible partnership with the American iPhone maker Apple.