stock markets

US stocks at fresh records despite COVID-19 surge, weak jobs data

Agence France-Presse
US stocks at fresh records despite COVID-19 surge, weak jobs data

WALL STREET. People walk through the blowing snow along Wall Street in New York City on December 16, 2020.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

All 3 major US indices end at all-time highs on Thursday, December 17, with the Nasdaq posting its 3rd straight record

Wall Street stocks rallied to fresh records on Thursday, December 17, on optimism over stimulus talks and coronavirus vaccines, even as the pandemic worsens in the United States, weighing on the near-term economic outlook.

All 3 major US indices ended at all-time highs, with the Nasdaq posting its 3rd straight record. European and Asian bourses mostly rose, although the strong pound weighed on London’s FTSE 100.

“The market is really showing some great resilience to selling pressure,” said analyst Patrick O’Hare.

“The market is seeing bad data…yet it still rallies because it still is fixated on a 2021 recovery.”

The records came despite some increasing signs of economic distress in the wake of the latest rise in coronavirus cases and the impact on business and hiring. 

Data on Thursday showed an unexpected jump in jobless claims after a report earlier in the week revealed a drop in retail sales.

Still, markets charged higher as long-stalled congressional talks on stimulus appeared to be entering the homestretch and US experts met to discuss a COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna.

After markets closed, the panel voted to recommend emergency approval to Moderna, paving the way for 6 million doses to start shipping as soon as this weekend.

But the outbreak in the United States continued to worsen, with more than 3,700 deaths and more than 250,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“The number of new COVID cases surged to a new daily high over the past 24 hours, and the fears of a post-Thanksgiving spike seem to be confirmed with hospitalizations still on the rise as well,” Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman said.

He attributed the latest drop in the US dollar in part to a US coronavirus outbreak that “is the most serious in a global perspective.”

Brexit outlook darkens

Back in Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron became the latest national leader to test positive for the coronavirus, forcing several other European politicians into quarantine as the continent becomes the first region to pass 500,000 deaths.

Germany reported a daily record of new coronavirus infections of more than 30,000, as it struggles to cope with the outbreak with a fresh partial lockdown.

But the pound kept at around 19-month highs against the dollar as the Bank of England held fire over interest rates and stimulus as Britain and the European Union (EU) continue their 11th-hour talks on their post-Brexit trading arrangement.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to find a breakthrough in post-Brexit trade. After speaking with Johnson, von der Leyen was pessimistic.

“We welcomed substantial progress on many issues, yet big differences remain to be bridged, in particular on fisheries,” she said. 

“Bridging them will be very challenging. Negotiations will continue tomorrow.”

Key figures around 10:30 pm GMT
  • New York – Dow: UP 0.5% at 30,303.37 (close)
  • New York – S&P 500: UP 0.6% at 3,722.48 (close)
  • New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.8% at 12,764.75 (close)
  • London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3% at 6,551.06 (close) 
  • Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.8% at 13,667.25 (close)
  • Paris – CAC 40: FLAT at 5,549.46 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5% at 3,560.87 (close)
  • Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.2% at 26,806.67 (close)
  • Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.8% at 26,678.38 (close)
  • Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.1% at 3,404.87 (close) 
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3584 from $1.3509 at 10 pm GMT
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.28 pence from 90.31 pence
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2265 from $1.2200
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 103.10 yen from 103.47 yen
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.1% at $48.36 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.8% at $51.50 per barrel


Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.