Asian shares fall on COVID-19 spread, Wall Street declines

 Asian shares fall on COVID-19 spread, Wall Street declines

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares fell across the board Monday, as pessimism took hold following rising COVID-19 infections regionally and Wall Street’s first weekly loss following three weeks of gains.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 shed nearly 1.2% in early trading to 27,677.60. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.9% to 3,247.68. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dipped 1.2% to 7,261.60. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.6% to 27,561.41, while the Shanghai Composite edged down 0.5% to 3,523.01.

“Asia stocks look set for a weak start,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG. “This comes as investors look beyond positive catalysts such as corporate earnings outperformance, focusing on several risk factors,” such as higher inflation and more COVID-19 cases.

Outbreaks are growing in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, as well as parts of Japan, including Tokyo, where the Olympics are set to open Friday. The first cases among athletes in the…

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