stock markets

Stimulus hopes, vaccine progress help lift stocks

Agence France-Presse
Stimulus hopes, vaccine progress help lift stocks

WALL STREET. People walk past the New York Stock Exchange at Wall Street in New York City on November 16, 2020.

Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP

The tech-dominated Nasdaq powers to a fresh record following a bullish session on Wall Street on Tuesday, December 15

European and United States stock markets mostly rose Tuesday, December 15, on optimism over US stimulus talks and vaccines, but London stumbled ahead of the capital’s tightened coronavirus restrictions and as dealers also tracked Brexit trade talks.

The tech-dominated Nasdaq powered to a fresh record following a bullish session on Wall Street, bolstered by reports congressional leaders were set to meet in person on Tuesday afternoon for the first time in months to try to advance a fiscal spending package after numerous earlier failures to reach agreement.

Meanwhile, the British pound rose as Brussels and London continued to pursue extended talks for a long-awaited Brexit trade deal. 

“Recent tones out of the EU have highlighted the potential for a breakthrough if the UK and EU are willing to compromise,” Joshua Mahony at IG said.

“However, investors were dealt a fresh dose of reality today after [British Prime Minister Boris] Johnson admitted that a no-deal is the most likely outcome at this point,” he added.

London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.3% as a strong pound hurt multinationals which dominate the index and whose earnings are mostly in dollars. 

But in the eurozone, the Paris CAC 40 nudged higher and in Frankfurt the DAX 30 climbed 1.1% as there was good news on the vaccine front.

More vaccines coming

The European Medicines Agency said on Tuesday it had moved forward a meeting to decide on authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by more than a week to December 21.

And in the US, a second coronavirus vaccine took a step towards emergency use approval when an FDA briefing document recommended experts give Moderna’s jab a green light later this week.

Meanwhile, Asian equities closed lower as investors focused on surging COVID-19 infections that are forcing many governments to impose tighter containment measures.

London faces new tough restrictions as it follows swathes of Britain into the highest tier of containment, the Netherlands was preparing to enter its strictest lockdown since the pandemic began, and New York City could also soon be facing a “full shutdown.”

Markets are looking ahead to the conclusion of the final Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting of 2020 on Wednesday, December 16.

The US central bank is not expected to change policy, but will update its members’ forecasts, shedding light on how they view the risk from the latest spike in US coronavirus cases and the trajectory of the recovery once COVID-19 vaccines become more widely deployed.

Among individual companies, Apple jumped 5% following a Nikkei report that the tech giant plans a 30% boost in iPhone production for the 1st half of 2021.

Key figures around 9:50 pm GMT
  • New York – Dow: UP 1.1% to 30,199.31 (close) 
  • New York – S&P 500: UP 1.3% at 3,694.62 (close)
  • New York – Nasdaq: UP 1.3% at 12,595.06 (close)
  • London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3% at 6,513.32 (close)
  • Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 1.1% at 13,362.87 (close)
  • Paris – CAC 40: UP less than 0.1% at 5,530.31 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5% at 3,521.50 (close)
  • Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2% at 26,687.84 (close)
  • Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.7% at 26,207.29 (close)
  • Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.1% at 3,367.23 (close)
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3457 from $1.3324 at 10 pm GMT
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.36 pence from 91.14 pence
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2159 from $1.2144
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 103.61 yen from 104.05 yen
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.3% at $47.62 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.9% at $50.76 per barrel


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