Stocks at record high as risk trade continues, dollar under pressure

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks across the globe rose on Friday and remained on track for their strongest monthly performance on record as recent vaccine progress, Joe Biden’s U.S. presidential election win and a weaker dollar continue to entice risk-taking.

FILE PHOTO: A man wears a protective mask as he walks past the New York Stock Exchange on the corner of Wall and Broad streets during the coronavirus outbreak in New York City, New York, U.S., March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

A global stock index touched a record high for the third session this week while the dollar index, a measure of the greenback versus six peers, was on track to close at its lowest since May 2018.

On Wall Street, the main indexes rose and the Nasdaq Composite hit a record high as optimism around an economic rebound next year outweighed concerns over an expected surge in coronavirus infections following the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 66.14 points, or 0.22%, to 29,938.61, the S&P 500 gained 13.17 points, or 0.36%, to 3,642.82 and the Nasdaq Composite added 135.94 points, or 1.12%, to 12,230.34.

U.S. stock markets will close at 1:00 p.m. New York time (1800 UCT), three hours earlier than usual. Bond trading closes at 2:00 p.m.

The risk-on moves were not deterred by questions over trial data on AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 “vaccine for the world,” even as several scientists sounded caution over the trial results.

European stocks rose after the European Central Bank reinforced expectations of further stimulus next month and Sweden’s Riksbank made a surprise increase to its quantitative-easing program.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.26% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.44% to 624.07 after touching a high of 624.29.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.12%, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.40%.

Australian shares ended down 0.5% with Treasury Wine Estates down 11.25% as China imposed new tariffs on Australian wine, the latest move in the countries’ long-running trade row.

The European Union and Britain said substantial differences remained over a Brexit trade deal, as the EU chief negotiator prepared to travel to London in a last-ditch attempt to avoid a tumultuous finale to the five-year crisis.

Sterling, which has climbed over 3% against the dollar this month, was last trading at $1.3349, down 0.04% on the day. [GBP/]

“Clearly, there are substantial and important differences still to be bridged, but we’re getting on with it,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters.

The dollar index fell 0.274%, with the euro up 0.32% to $1.1951.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.28% versus the greenback at 103.98 per dollar.

The yield on benchmark Treasury notes fell as some investors sought the safety of holding government debt. The 10-year notes last rose 7/32 in price to yield 0.8569%, from 0.878% late on Wednesday.

Oil prices, up for a fourth straight week, were mixed.

U.S. crude recently fell 0.66% to $45.41 per barrel and Brent was at $48.10, up 0.63% on the day.

Bitcoin fell 3.06% to $16,634.18 after tumbling 8.4% in the previous session. The cryptocurrency brushed against its record high of $19,666 earlier this week and has rallied around 130% this year, fueled by demand for riskier assets.

Spot gold dropped 1.5% to $1,783.36 an ounce. Silver fell 3.30% to $22.68.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Marc Jones in London and Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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