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Combined Asia-Pacific shares; Evergrande inventory ceased buying and selling in Hong Kong

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SINGAPORE – Asia Pacific stocks were mixed in trading Monday morning after Merck announced its new oral antiviral covid treatment that lowers the risk of hospitalization or death.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.78%. Trading in the Hong Kong-listed shares of China Evergrande was suspended on Monday as investors continue to monitor the situation surrounding the indebted developer. The real estate giant has missed two bond interest payments in the past few weeks. Trading in the shares of Evergrande Property Services has also ceased.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.57% while the Topix index lost 0.24%.

Australian stocks rose, the S & P / ASX 200 rose 1.14%.

MSCI’s broadest index for Asia Pacific stocks outside of Japan traded 0.13% higher.

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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 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 93.999 after falling over 94.4 recently.

The Japanese yen was trading at 110.97 per dollar, stronger than the 112 levels seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7265 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 0.11% to $ 79.19 a barrel. US crude oil futures lost 0.18% to $ 75.74 a barrel.

– CNBC’s Chloe Taylor contributed to this report.

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