Asian shares gain, on its way to second straight week

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Asian shares gained on Friday on course for its second straight week, as governments make provisions to dampen the effect of the coronavirus outbreak.

MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.3%, lifted by gains in South Korea and Hong Kong. On the week, it was up 1.94%.

Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.55%, hurt by the report of first coronavirus death in the country and potential human-to-human infections.

On Wall Street on Thursday, the S&P 500 slid 0.16%, but its futures climbed 0.23% in Asian trade.

New cases and the daily death toll over the virus outbreak in China dropped to its lowest in weeks.

Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities said that for a certainty, investors will avoid Asia and shift funds to the U.S. That translates to a higher demand for USD in the forex market.

The dollar index hit a four-month high and rose 1.8% this month.

The euro dropped to $1.0827, its lowest in three years, consecutively hitting a nine-week low against the British pound and 4 ½ year low against the Swiss franc.

Euro zone GDP data is estimated to reveal a slow 0.1% growth from the last quarter.

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