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Asian Markets Mostly Mixed Wednesday as Optimism Over Coronavirus Pandemic Fades

A man looks at an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in Tokyo.

Asian markets are mixed Wednesday as investors' rising optimism about the trend of the coronavirus pandemic was tempered with news of the mounting death toll.

Japan’s Nikkei index finished the day’s trading session 2% higher, while Australia’s S&P/ASX and the KOSPI in South Korea lost just less than one percent, and Shanghai’s index closed out the day down nearly one-quarter of one percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down more than one percent in late afternoon trading.

Meanwhile, European markets were all trading in negative territory during mid-morning trading, while prices in oil markets rebounded; U.S. crude oil futures surged past $25 a barrel Wednesday, after losing 9.4% the day before, while Brent crude, the international standard, gained more than $1 to finish past $32 per barrel.

Financial markets had rallied over the past two days from cautious optimism over a decline of new infections and deaths in some countries. But Tuesday saw an increase in deaths and new COVID-19 cases in Britain, France, some eastern European countries, Sweden, Japan and the United States.

Close to 1.5 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed worldwide and more than 82,000 have died so far.