FTSE 100 LIVE: Asian equities fall as vaccine trials halt and US aid package talks sour

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Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N said it was pausing a coronavirus vaccine trial due to a study participant’s unexplained illness on Tuesday. Eli Lilly and Co LLY.N later said it too had paused the clinical trial of its COVID-19 antibody treatment. The treatment was halted due to a safety concern, leading the US equity market to deepen losses. J&J shares lost 2.3 percent, while Eli Lilly closed down nearly 3 percent.

This comes as hopes for the passage of a new coronavirus relief package faded as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected a $1.8 trillion relief proposal from the White House.

“U.S. stimulus talks are still going nowhere dimming the prospect of a new round of support this side of the election,” said Sydney-based NAB strategist Rodrigo Catril.

“So, for now it is hard to see a deal being agreed before Nov. 3, the market is still travelling with the notion that a new round of stimulus is coming, but at this stage this looks more likely after the election.”

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.2 percent. Japan’s Nikkei .N225 dipped 0.2 percent while Australia’s benchmark index .AXJO was off a touch and South Korea .KS11 stumbled 0.7 percent.

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