Asia Pacific stocks mixed as WHO warns coronavirus deaths could start to rise again

  • Shares in Asia Pacific traded mixed on Wednesday morning.
  • A World Health Organization official said Tuesday that it shouldn't "be a surprise" if coronavirus deaths start to rise again as reported Covid-19 cases globally accelerated in June while the death toll has been falling.
  • WHO officials warn that that there's a lag between rising cases and increasing deaths. It takes weeks after contracting the virus to fall seriously ill and potentially die from the coronavirus. 

Stocks in Asia Pacific traded mixed on Wednesday morning as concerns around the coronavirus pandemic continue to linger.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.35% in early trade while the Topix index shed 0.24%. Over in South Korea, on the other hand, the Kospi added 0.28%.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia slipped 0.26%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.04% lower.

A World Health Organization official said Tuesday that it shouldn't "be a surprise" if coronavirus deaths start to rise again. Reported Covid-19 cases globally accelerated in June while the death toll has been falling. WHO officials warn that that there's a lag between rising cases and increasing deaths. It takes weeks after contracting the virus to fall seriously ill and potentially die from the coronavirus. 

Cases have recently spiked stateside with Texas reporting more than 10,000 additional Covid-19 cases Tuesday — a record-breaking daily surge. In Asia Pacific, a recent uptick in cases in parts of Australia has prompted officials in Victoria state to impose stay-at-home restrictions in areas such as metropolitan Melbourne for six weeks.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 slid 1.1% to finish its trading day at 3,145.32 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 0.9% lower at 10,343.89. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 396.85 points, or 1.5%, to end its trading day at 25,890.18. Both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 snapped five-day winning streaks. The Dow posted its first decline in three sessions. 

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.961 after seeing levels above 97 earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.62 per dollar after after seesawing between levels below 107.4 and above 107.7 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6941 after touching levels around $0.693 yesterday.

Oil prices dipped in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.56% to $42.84 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.57% to $40.39 per barrel.

— CNBC's Noah Higgins-Dunn contributed to this report.

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