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Stocks rest after vaccine progress, dollar stuck at two-and-a-half-year low

EconomyDec 02, 2020 05:00AM ET
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© Reuters. People wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, are reflected on a screen showing Nikkei index, outside a brokerage in Tokyo

By Carolyn Cohn

LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks hovered near record highs on Wednesday on hopes for a coronavirus vaccine and additional U.S. economic stimulus, though enthusiasm for riskier assets left the dollar stuck at a 2-1/2 year low.

Britain on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, saying it would start rolling it out early next week.

The two drug firms and competitor Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) have also sought emergency use approval from European regulators this week.

Top U.S. health officials have announced plans to start vaccinating Americans as early as mid-December once regulatory approvals are in place. Nationwide deaths hit 2,295 on Monday the highest toll in six months.

"Approval of a highly effective vaccine may mark the beginning of the end to the COVID-19 economic turmoil and the beginning of a new bull market for equities," said Mike Bell, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

"The scientists have come to the rescue and delivered what investors were hoping for Christmas."

Despite the positive news, European stocks struggled to add to their recent surge in early trading but MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe inched up 0.1% to keep it near an all-time high.

The dollar was stuck at 2-1/2 year lows against the euro and an index of major currencies as investors sought out the higher risk currencies that had fallen during the earlier stages of the pandemic.

Yields on euro zone government bonds edged up to their highest in three weeks at -0.51%.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech said their vaccine could be launched in the European Union as early as this month, though a European regulator clouded the schedule when it said it would complete its review of their vaccine by Dec. 29.

Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) analysts said the early approval and roll-out of the vaccine in Britain "raises the prospect that life could return closer to normal early next year".

Shares in BioNTech surged by more than 8% before trimming gains, though European shares slipped overall by 0.3%, shuffling below recent nine-month highs.

HOT OIL

Markets were also hoping for more fiscal relief. Top U.S. Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that Congress should include new coronavirus stimulus in a $1.4 trillion spending bill aimed at heading off a government shutdown in the midst of the pandemic.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden told the New York Times his priority is getting a generous aid package through Congress even before he takes office in January.

U.S. stock futures declined 0.23% following a record closing high for Wall Street shares.

The pound was under some pressure, however, as a senior EU diplomat said UK's post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union "still hangs in balance".

Sterling fell more than 0.5% to $1.3354. UK blue-chip stocks were steady.

In Asia, shares in China recovered from early losses and rose 0.12%.

Tokyo stocks were little changed after setting a new 29-year high. Softbank (OTC:SFTBY) Group shares fell 0.66% after Bloomberg News said the tech investor is winding down its options trades on companies including Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB).

Oil prices were also lifted by the vaccine optimism, reversing earlier losses made after OPEC and its allies left markets in limbo by postponing a formal meeting to decide whether to lift output in January.

Brent crude futures rose 0.15% to $47.49 per barrel, while U.S. crude was down 0.09% at $44.51 per barrel. Oil has raced up nearly 30% over the last month.

Stocks rest after vaccine progress, dollar stuck at two-and-a-half-year low
 

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Comments (12)
stephen outhwaite
stephen outhwaite Dec 03, 2020 4:21AM ET
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looks like they're gonna do the full vaccine tests in Brexit Britain, wonder how much Boris got tickled for that?
stephen outhwaite
stephen outhwaite Dec 03, 2020 4:21AM ET
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that'll be the LD 50 tests
Dietmar Stahl
Dietmar Stahl Dec 02, 2020 8:46AM ET
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Germany to keep restaurants and hotels closed to January 10 for now
James Gomez
James Gomez Dec 02, 2020 2:22AM ET
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Looks to be like another stimulus package is as real as the Easter Bunny
perplexed76 .
perplexed76 . Dec 02, 2020 1:10AM ET
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so markets' guys spent a thrillion to buy shares when economy needs a thrillion to survive. That's absurd.
Tom Daniel
Tom Daniel Dec 02, 2020 12:34AM ET
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Vaccine. Yeah sure over somethingess deadly as a flu. The world is a chess board and most of us are pawns.
perplexed76 .
perplexed76 . Dec 02, 2020 12:34AM ET
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covid damages your health either
Troy Coureton
Troy Coureton Dec 02, 2020 12:15AM ET
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We been pumping on stimulus hopes for months lol
Gamer Turtle
GamerTurtle Dec 02, 2020 12:15AM ET
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stock market does better when economy is restrictive. lol.
Elvis Durant
Elvis Durant Dec 01, 2020 10:56PM ET
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Reuters became a gambling hall with fake news
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Dec 01, 2020 10:34PM ET
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The only people in all of California who would vote for Donny Trump live in Redding, CA. Even those of us up here in Maine know that. Right, guy?
Tai Banh
Tai Banh Dec 01, 2020 10:04PM ET
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Market will definitely pops really good early tomow after good jobs report at 8:30 am et time
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Dec 01, 2020 9:31PM ET
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Joe’s landslide win drove the markets to their best monthly performance in 33 years! Trump crashed the markets and Joe is bringing them back, just like Joe did from 2009-2017! But the markets will go lower tomorrow, because of profit-taking. Yes, the Democrats are the only ones left in the markets, after Donny scared all the Trumpers away on Nov 3 because for the previous 3 months Donny was saying the markets would crash if Joe was elected. Yet another fake claim by Donny! Yes, fans, the Dems get richer and the Trumpers get even more impoverished. The Trumpers totally missed out on the best 30-day increase since 1987. Who said they were “uneducated?” EVERYONE DID? LOL! Landslide Joe!
Jedrek Zak
Jedrek Zak Dec 01, 2020 9:31PM ET
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Joe didn't do anything. The market was bought back due to vaccine news/senate likely staying Republican/constant stimulus talk. But ok...whatever you say, guy.
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Dec 01, 2020 9:31PM ET
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Jedrek Zak JZ....you’re wrong! Must be an uneducated Trumper....Only 50% of the people in US will take the vaccine, so that’s not it! Dems will tie senate at 50-50, unless the Georgia run-offs are totally rigged, so that’s not it. And another stimulus was a foregone conclusion two months ago, so that’s not it. The markets like certainty and, unlike Fake Donny, Joe brings that in spades. All Trump does is send people to their graves and tell his supporters to inject themselves with Lysol. Both create HUGE uncertainty. Yes, Joe’s election was totally responsible for November’s equity surge. Got it, guy? (Haven’t heard “guy” used in that context for over 30 years. Must be an OLD Trumper.......,guy.) LOL, guy!
New Jazenevd
New Jazenevd Dec 01, 2020 8:42PM ET
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Replace the article. Market goes lower tomorrow.
SHARATH RAVINDRAN
SHARATH RAVINDRAN Dec 01, 2020 8:10PM ET
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positive
 
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