People walk past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange Wednesday, Oct. 14,…
People walk past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Oct. 14, 2020.

Asian markets sustained deep losses Wednesday after setbacks in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine or therapeutic drug caused uncertainty among investors. 

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index was the region’s lone brightspot, finishing 0.1% higher.  The S&P/ASX index in Australia was down 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost seven points, but was unchanged percentage-wise.  Shanghai’s Composite index closed 0.5% lower. South Korea’s KOSPI index fell 0.9%, and the TSEC index in Taiwan ended the trading session 0.2% lower.   

The Sensex in India is down 0.6% in late afternoon trading. 

U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly said Tuesday that clinical trials of its experimental coronavirus antibody treatment were being paused for safety reasons.  Another U.S. pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, revealed the day before that it was putting a hold on a late-stage trial of a potential vaccine after a participant became ill. 

In commodities trading, gold was selling at $1,899.80, up 0.2%.  U.S. crude oil is selling at $39.98 per barrel, down 0.5%, and Brent crude oil is trading at $42.25 per barrel, down 0.4%.   

All three major U.S. indices are trending positively in futures trading.