* Asian stock markets : https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
* MSCI ex-Japan up 0.5%, Nikkei climbs 1.1%
* Pfizer could have coronavirus vaccine ready by end-2020
* Pelosi optimistic of U.S. fiscal aid before Nov elections
* Currencies tread water, oil slips, gold gains
SYDNEY, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Asian markets advanced toward a
recent 2-1/2-year peak on Monday powered by hopes of a U.S.
fiscal package and expectations of a coronavirus vaccine by the
end of this year, though gains were held back by
weaker-than-expected Chinese economic data.
In early European trades, the pan-region Euro Stoxx 50
futures added 0.25%, German DAX futures were
slightly higher while London's FTSE futures were down
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
climbed 0.5% for its second straight day of
gains, paring back slightly following third-quarter gross
domestic product (GDP) data from China.
The index has risen in eight of the last 10 sessions amid a
rally in risk assets buoyed by hopes of a coronavirus vaccine
and expectations of a so-called "blue wave", which would see the
Democrats claim victory in November's elections.
Chinese shares started higher but slipped into negative
territory in afternoon trading after China's third-quarter GDP
data rose 4.9%, missing expectations for a 5.2% growth.
In a positive sign, however, separate monthly indicators
pointed to an expansion in economic activity.
Industrial output accelerated 6.9% in September from a year
earlier, when analysts were looking for a 5.8% gain from a 5.6%
rise in August.
Retail sales edged up 3.3% last month from a year earlier
against expectations for 1.8% growth.
"The rebound in Q3 GDP was less strong than expected, but
was still a decent 4.9% year on year. September data beat
expectations, suggesting a pick-up in momentum towards the
latter part of Q3," said Frances Cheung, head of macro strategy
for Asia at Westpac in Singapore.
"The pick-up in momentum was broad based, which bodes well
for the Q4 outlook."
Japan's Nikkei rose 1.1% while Australia's benchmark
index added 0.9%.
Boosting overall sentiment, drugmaker Pfizer Inc
said on Friday it could have a coronavirus vaccine ready in the
United States by the end of this year.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 jumped 0.7% in Asian
trading after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday she was
optimistic legislation on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief
package could be pushed through before the election.
But with her negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steven
Mnuchin, in the Middle East until Tuesday, such a timeframe
would seem to be overly optimistic, analysts said.
Investors are also concerned about rising coronavirus cases.
Global coronavirus cases rose by more than 400,000 for the first
time late on Friday, a record one-day increase as much of Europe
enacts new restrictions to curb the outbreak.
Later in the week, key risk events include minutes of
Australia's central bank meeting, the final U.S. presidential
debate and global manufacturing indicators.
Action in currencies was muted with the U.S. dollar, usually
perceived as a safe-haven asset, flat at 93.696 against a
basket of six major currencies.
The euro was slightly weaker at $1.1708 and sterling
hovered near two-week lows after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
told businesses to get ready for a no-deal Brexit in case
negotiations with the European Union fail to produce a free
"EU-UK trade talks are flirting with collapse," ANZ
"UK Prime Minister Johnson said the UK needs to prepare for
a no-deal outcome, as both sides cannot agree on a Canada-style
FTA. Talks resume in London on Monday, but without the political
willingness to shift ground, there is little the negotiators can
In commodities, Brent crude futures slipped 10 cents
to $42.83 a barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI)
crude futures fell 12 cents to $40.76 a barrel.
Spot gold rose 0.6% to $1,909.6 an ounce.
(Editing by Gerry Doyle and Jacqueline Wong)