Hong Kong and most other Asia-Pacific stocks declined Friday after reports that a much-watched experimental drug didn’t help coronavirus patients in a clinical trial. Meanwhile, as the Congress pushed through more help for small businesses and hospitals, the latest weekly jobless claims out of the US hit 4.4 million, bringing the total number of Americans thrown out of work by the virus over the past five weeks to 26 million. The US has the largest number of cases, at more than 869,000, and deaths, at more than 47,000. Gilead Sciences, the company developing the drug remdesivir, disputed the leaked report of dismal trial results. More complete data will be coming out soon that analysts expect to be more telling. But the overnight flare-up focused investors’ attention on the lack of a vaccine or effective treatment against the respiratory ailment that has killed nearly 190,000 people around the globe. Asia stocks mostly gain on hope in world’s battle against the virus “Optimism around a health care breakthrough allowed investors to look through some of the more horrific economic prints taking a more temporal view towards the virus,” said Stephen Innes, chief global strategist at AxiCorp. “ … There’s a lot of hope riding on a cure, and with optimism around remdesivir as top view on the health care section, it’s a bit of blow for the market at week’s end,” he continued. “And considering it’s Friday where traders have tended to be more risk-off than on in weeks past, it could be a bit of struggle today to make hay as no one likes to be greeted with sour cream headlines in their Friday morning coffee.” The Hang Seng Index finished down 0.6 per cent at 23,831.33. For the week, it lost 2.3 per cent. Chinese cancer drugs developer Akeso soared in its Hong Kong debut. Asia-Pacific stocks mixed; Ping An Good Doctor, Ali Health shoot up Meanwhile, Ali Health, the e-commerce platform, fell 6.4 per cent, as profit taking set it. The stock is still up 65 per cent over the past five weeks. “The Hong Kong market has no clear direction in the short term after oil prices stabilised,” said Alan Li, portfolio manager at Atta Capital. “Trade volume may keep relatively low before the long weekend next week.” He added that he wasn’t surprised by Ali Health’s fall given its huge run-up. Investors continue to watch earnings for signs of what companies plan to do going forward to try to reduce the fallout from the virus. Profit warnings continue to pour out of listed companies. (For in-depth coverage of the Hong Kong and China markets, go to the Stocks Blog. ) Ping An shares fell after the Chinese insurer’s first-quarter net profit plunged. The Shanghai Composite Index declined 1 per cent. Coronavirus means cheap oil isn’t good news for Southeast Asia Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan’s Nikkei 225 declined 0.9 per cent. As the virus continues to drive trading sentiment, the governments of capital city Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa have asked companies to add vacation days to the annual Golden Week holiday to turn it into a 12-day break that would start as soon as Saturday in a bid to cut down the number of commuters as the coronavirus continues to spread. Japan will also decide whether to extend the country’s state of emergency during the Golden Week holiday, according to local media reports. Chinese government debt safe haven amid pandemic, sees record foreign inflows South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.3 per cent. The tech-heavy Kosdaq fell 1.6 per cent. The South Korean economy shrank 1.4 per cent in the three months through March from the previous quarter, according to new data this week. In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 rose 0.5 per cent. The country will close its international borders for at least three to four months to contain the spread of the coronavirus. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX50 slipped 0.3 per cent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.9 per cent. The country has the most coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia and extended its partial lockdown to June 1.