Asian Markets Mostly Lower at Start of Holiday Week  

Asian markets were mostly lower Monday as panic sparked by the discovery in Britain of a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 overshadowed a final agreement in Washington for a new financial relief package.  Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index closed down 0.1%. Australia’s S&P/ASX index lost over five-and-a-half points, but was unchanged percentagewise. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.7%. In late afternoon trading, Mumbai’s Sensex has plunged 3%. In contrast, Shanghai’s Composite gained 0.7%, South Korea’s KOSPI index earned 0.2%, and the TSEC in Taiwan soared 0.9%.  In commodities trading, gold is selling at $1,899.80 per ounce, up 0.5%. U.S. crude oil is selling at $47.04 per barrel, down 4.2%, and Brent crude is down 4.1%, selling at $50.07 per barrel. Many nations in Europe and elsewhere around the globe have imposed travel bans of various time periods on all flights from Britain as the new coronavirus strain spread across southern Britain.  All three major U.S. indices are trending downward in futures trading. 

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