Asian stocks open with guarded gains on vaccine roll-out, Brexit extension

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Stocks started a busy week with guarded gains as investors gauged the chance of added U.S. fiscal and monetary stimulus, while the British pound rose in relief as a last-gasp extension to Brexit talks dodged a hard divorce.

Progress on coronavirus vaccines cheered risk sentiment, with the first shipments speeding across the United States as part of an historic mission to innoculate more than 100 million people by the end of March.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 responded by rising 0.5%, while March Treasury bond futures slipped 5 ticks.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.1%, having hit a string of record highs last week.

Japan’s Nikkei added 0.4% as a survey showed the mood among hard-hit Japanese businesses had improved in the December quarter.

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