Asian stocks open higher on Omicron fears

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Asian stocks open higher on Omicron fears

Asian stocks opened higher on Tuesday as investors took heart from the strong rebound on Wall Street on hopes that the newest coronaviruses variant will prove less dangerous than previously feared.

The Omicron variant has been detected across the globe but no deaths have yet been reported, with authorities racing to determine how contagious it is and how effective existing vaccines are.

Top US pandemic adviser Anthony Fauci said over the weekend that while more information was needed, preliminary data on the variant's severity was a bit encouraging for Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, which was slightly higher at the open, while Shanghai was slightly higher.

In early trade, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 1.25 percent.

Japanese shares are seen to gain as US stocks rallied, led by sectors that are sensitive to business cycles after strong concerns about the Omicron variant receded, according to Okasan Online Securities.

The economic data looks good, said Sylvia Jablonski, Defiance ETFs chief investment officer co-founder, told Bloomberg Television that even long-term worries about the US Federal Reserve ending its ultra-loose monetary policy were not weighing on sentiment for the time being.

She said that we don't need the same kind of monetary stimulation as we had before so perhaps the tapering isn't so bad - we don't expect it to be too out of control or too quick so there is good news for buying on the dip.

Singapore, Jakarta, Wellington and Seoul were slightly up, while stocks in Bangkok and Manila dipped slightly.

European and US equities rebounded on Monday after the Omicron news.

London's blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 1.5 percent, with similar gains in Frankfurt and Paris.

Wall Street had a strong day, with the Dow up 1.9 percent.

It's been a positive start to the week for the FTSE 100, and European markets as concerns over the Omicron variant diminished on evidence of mild symptoms and so far no deaths because of the virus, according to CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

In China, the spectre of debt defaults by major property developers loomed.

The Sunshine 100 China Holdings said it missed the repayment deadline, adding to concerns over the property market that have been stoked by massive debt at Evergrande Group, as well as concerns for Kaisa Group.

As a result of the crisis, China's central bank said Monday it would reduce the reserve requirement ratio by 0.5 percentage points for most banks, effective December 15.

The central bank said in a statement that the move reduces the amount of cash the banks must hold in reserve, which will allow 1.2 trillion yuan $188 billion to be injected into the economy over the long term.

China's real estate industry - a key growth driver in the world's second-largest economy - has cooled in recent months after Beijing tightened home buying rules and launched a regulatory assault on speculation.

New York - Dow was up 1.9 percent at 35,227. 03 close to West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.04 percent at $70.21 per barrel.

Brent crude in the North Sea was up 0.79 percent at $73.66 per barrel.

Euro dollar DOWN at $1.1284 from $1.1288