SINGAPORE — Shares in Japan looked set for a lower start on Wednesday as investors assessed the impact of the omicron Covid variant.
The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 28,995 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 28,960. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 29,069.16.
Australian stocks, which returned to trade following holidays on Monday and Tuesday, rose as the S&P/ASX 200 jumped about 1%.
Investors in Asia-Pacific will continue monitoring developments surrounding the omicron variant. A study from South Africa found the immune response of people infected with the omicron Covid variant appears to increase protection against delta more than fourfold and could displace it.
Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 declined 0.1% to 4,786.35, falling from the record close it saw on Monday. The Nasdaq Composite also shed 0.56% to 15,781.72. The Dow Jones Industrial Average outperformed, rising 95.83 points to 36,398.21.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.153 after a recent bounce from around 96.
The Japanese yen traded at 114.74 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 114.5 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.723 following recent declines from above $0.725.