Asian Markets Sustain Across-the-Board Losses  

Asian markets went on a downward spiral Wednesday, sparked by heavy losses the day before on Wall Street and a setback in the development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.   Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index lost just over one percent, while the S&P/ASX index in Australia dropped 2.1%. The Shanghai Composite index lost 1.9%, the KOSPI in South Korea closed down just over one percent, and Taiwan’s TSEC finished 0.4% lower.   In late afternoon trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is down 0.6%, while Mumbai’s Sensex is 0.5% lower.   Investors were shaken after Tuesday’s big selloff in all three major U.S. indices, led by the technology-heavy Nasdaq, which lost a staggering 4.1%.  Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca’s announcement that it was halting late-state trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine after a participant became ill also rattled investors in the region.    But Europe’s benchmark indices are off to a strong start Wednesday — Britain’s FTSE index and the DAX index in Germany are both up one percent, while France’s CAC-40 is 0.9% higher.  In commodities trading, gold is selling at $1,935.90 an ounce, down 0.3%.  U.S. crude oil is selling at $37.30 per barrel, up 1.4%, while Brent crude, the international standard, is selling at $40.19 per barrel, up one percent.   Meanwhile, the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are all trending higher in futures trading despite Tuesday’s slump.    

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