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Asia stocks mixed as traders mull jump in coronavirus numbers from new counting method

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SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) – Stocks were mixed in Asian trading on Thursday (Feb 13) as investors mulled over the implications of a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in Hubei, after it deployed a revised methodology.

While the jump in the tally cut against the optimism seen Wednesday about the rate of infections slowing, some analysts were encouraged by what might be a more realistic picture coming from Chinese authorities.

Japan's Nikkei edged up 0.1 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite was little changed.

South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.3 per cent while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.2 per cent.

The Straits Times Index also fluctuated and was down 3.37 points or 0.1 per cent to 3,220.00 at 9:35cm.

Investor sentiment has improved in recent sessions amid speculation the impact from the coronavirus outbreak on global growth would be short-lived. A gauge of global equities hit a record high yesterday.

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That was before Hubei, the province at the center of the epidemic, reported almost 15,000 new cases after it revised its data to include "clinically diagnosed" cases in its daily disclosure.

"Just when markets were getting comfortable with the idea that the Covid-19 infection increase was trending lower, the sudden jump in the number of new cases in Hubei has jolted them out of this sence of complacency," said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

By contrast, Andrew Collier, a managing director at Orient Capital Research in Hong Kong, said "we knew that there was a lot of bad testing going on, and that there was a lot of underreporting. So they're actually starting to report actual figures, and that's encouraging."

The yen last traded at 109.91 per dollar while export-exposed currencies, which had rallied on confidence the virus could be contained, rRead More – Source