* MSCI Asia ex-Japan +0.38%
* Australia eases lockdowns, U.S. vaccines in sight
* Asian stock markets: https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
* 2020 asset performance http://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn
* World FX rates in 2020 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Andrew Galbraith
SHANGHAI, Nov 23 (Reuters) - A broad gauge of Asian shares edged up to record highs on Monday morning as hopes for imminent coronavirus vaccines buoyed investor sentiment, but worries over the impact of economic lockdowns and uncertainty over U.S. stimulus capped gains.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was up 0.38%, pushing past a previous record high touched on Friday.
The regional index also got a boost from Australian shares .AXJO which gained 0.81% as the country eased some COVID-19 restrictions. Most of the country has seen no new community infections or deaths in several weeks. contrast, in the United States - where COVID-19 infections are quickening, total cases topped 12 million over the weekend and more than 255,000 have died - many hopes are focused on rapid vaccine rollouts.
A top government official of the U.S. government's vaccine development effort said Sunday that the first vaccines could be given to U.S. healthcare workers and others recommended by mid-December. from the impact of pandemic-related lockdowns, many investors have taken a dim view of the slow pace of progress over stimulus to boost the U.S. economy.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that key pandemic lending programs at the Federal Reserve would expire on Dec. 31, putting the outgoing Trump administration at odds with the central bank and potentially adding stress to the economy. is only beginning and may take some time if the recent partisan disagreements over the composition and magnitude of fiscal spending are any indication," analysts at ANZ said in a note.
U.S. e-mini futures for the S&P 500 EScv1 were 0.25% higher at 3,563 on Monday after U.S. shares slumped on Friday on a combination of dwindling aid for the U.S. economy and rising novel coronavirus infection rates.
The dollar index =USD , which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, nudged down to 92.278.
Spot gold XAU= rose 0.11% to $1,872.63 per ounce. GOL/
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http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh 2020 asset performance
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