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Merck Covid treatment, China markets closed


SINGAPORE — Shares in Japan looked set for a positive start after Merck announced its new Covid oral antiviral treatment that reduces the risk of hospitalization or death.

Chicago’s Nikkei futures contract was 29,190, while Osaka’s counterpart was 29,050. This compares to the Nikkei-225’s closing at 28771.07.

Australian stocks jumped in early trading, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.55%.

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Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced FridayThey have developed a drug that reduces hospitalizations and death rates by approximately 50% for Covid patients. The drug may be approved by regulators and could become the first antiviral medication for Covid.

Following the “compelling results”, in the clinical trial, Covid’s antiviral Covid therapy was approved by the FDA for emergency treatment.

China markets are currently closed during the holiday season and will reopen on Friday.


Following a drop from 94.4 to 93.956, the U.S.dollar index (which tracks the greenback against its peers) was 93.956.

 The Japanese yen traded at 110.96 per dollar, stronger than levels around 112 seen against the greenback last week. After a rebound from $0.72 late last week, the Australian dollar traded at $0.7279.

 – CNBC’s Chloe Taylor contributed to this report.