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Budget 2021

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Budget 2021

Associate Partners:

  • SMCSamsungVolvo
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Asian shares set for mixed open on resurgent virus worries

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.60% in early trading, following three-straight days of losses. Japan's Nikkei 225 futures were down 0.13%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures were down 0.05%.

December 23, 2020 / 08:34 AM IST

Asian shares were set for choppy trade on Wednesday as the investor focus swung between concerns about a new faster-spreading variant of the coronavirus and hopes that more U.S. fiscal aid would propel an economic recovery.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.60% in early trading, following three-straight days of losses. Japan's Nikkei 225 futures were down 0.13%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures were down 0.05%.

U.S. stocks ended mostly lower over concerns the new COVID variation, which has halted movement in and out of the UK and sent vaccine makers scrambling to ensure their drugs are effective against it, could further hamper a softening economic recovery.

Data showed U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in December, for second-straight monthly decline, as renewed restrictions aimed at slowing the pandemic hobbled businesses, overshadowing the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines.

U.S. existing home sales also came in lower than expected

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Congress approved a long-anticipated new fiscal stimulus package worth nearly $900 billion late on Monday, but economists said it would likely fall short of what was needed to counter a winter of rising coronavirus infections and layoffs.

"It's interesting to note the very muted response from investors globally to the U.S. stimulus package," said Michael McCarthy, Chief Markets Strategist, at CMC Markets. "It doesn’t seem to be the magic bullet investors once thought it was."

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, warning that the "darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us," said his administration will put forward another COVID-19 relief package early next year.

The S&P 500 ended down 0.21% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.67%, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.51%.

MSCI's index of global stocks was off 0.15%.

Oil prices fell on demand worries linked to the new COVID strain, with Brent last down 2.16% at $49.81 a barrel and U.S. crude 2.44% lower at $46.80.

The safe-haven U.S. dollar was up 0.56% against a basket of currencies, while both the euro and the pound were slightly higher, having clawed back earlier losses amid talk of a potential post-Brexit trade deal on the table between Britain and the European Union.
Reuters
first published: Dec 23, 2020 08:07 am

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