Asia Mostly Higher as U.S. Cases Surge

Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly rose on Friday as the coronavirus situation stateside continued to be monitored by investors.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 slumped 274.53 points, or 1.2%, to 22,259.79, as shares of conglomerate Softbank Group jumped 3%.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.12 per U.S. dollar following its weakening from levels below 106.8 against the greenback earlier this week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index faded 231.59, or 0.9%, to 24,549.99, with shares of Chinese tech giant Alibaba dropping nearly 3%.

More than 45,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the U.S. on Wednesday, a record that surpassed the previous April 26 peak by over 9,000 cases.

Australian markets gained ground. In corporate developments, shares of Australian airline Qantas Airways plummeted 9.07% after the firm announced it had completed a share placement to institutional investors worth approximately 1.36 billion Australian dollars ($936.83 million).

On Thursday, the firm had announced plans to reduce its pre-crisis workforce by at least 6,000 roles as part of steps to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Australian dollar was at $0.6882, having risen to levels above $0.695 and traded below $0.685 this week.

In other markets

Markets in Shanghai and Taiwan remained shuttered for holiday.

In Korea, the Kospi regained 22.28 points, or 1.1%, to 2,134.65

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index surged 14.36 points, or 0.6%, to 2,604.51

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 inched forward 4.87 points, or 0.1%, to 11,129.23

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained 86.4 points, or 1.5%, to 5,904.08.