Wall Street stocks gained on Monday, November 23, as another positive coronavirus vaccine announcement and optimism over Joe Biden’s selection of Janet Yellen as treasury secretary offset worries about rising COVID-19 cases.
British drugs group AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford said they will seek regulatory approval for their coronavirus vaccine, adding to hopes that a post-pandemic economy could be in the offing following similar announcements by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
That was followed by news of Yellen’s expected appointment at Treasury, confirmed to Agence France-Presse by a financial source with knowledge of the decision made by Biden.
Yellen, the former head of the Federal Reserve, is a known quantity on financial markets and “has been favorable to the idea of fiscal stimulus,” said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services.
These developments countered news of fresh coronavirus restrictions in Los Angeles and Nevada.
Major United States indices finished solidly higher, with the S&P 500 gaining 0.6%.
Earlier, European equity markets pulled back, dented by a downcast survey of European economic activity from IHS Markit.
The firm’s closely watched Purchasing Managers’ Index plummeted to 45.1 points from 50.0 points in October, well below the key 50-point level which indicates growth.
“The eurozone economy has plunged back into a severe decline in November amid renewed efforts to quash the rising tide of COVID-19 infections,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at IHS Markit.
Oil prices pushed higher on optimism over vaccines.
“The thought of starting a vaccination campaign already within 2020 revitalized trader hopes that oil demand could take a little less time to recover,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen of consultancy Rystad Energy.
“As oil demand is currently expected to take a hit from the second global round of lockdowns, the early vaccine news offer some light in the tunnel.”
Among individual companies, Boeing surged 6% after European Union Aviation Safety Agency chief Patrick Ky said he expects the Boeing 737 MAX to return to service in January following agency safety reviews.
The statement comes only days after US air safety regulators approved the jet to return to service.
US retailers had a good session on optimism about the upcoming holiday shopping season, with Macy’s gaining 15%, Gap 6.9%, and Best Buy 2.4%.
Key figures around 9:50 pm GMT
- New York – Dow: UP 1.1% at 29,591.27 (close)
- New York – S&P 500: UP 0.6% at 3,577.59 (close)
- New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.2% at 11,880.63 (close)
- London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3% at 6,333.84 (close)
- Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.1% at 13,126.97 (close)
- Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.1% at 5,492.15 (close)
- EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1% at 3,463.04 (close)
- Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.1% at 26,486.20 (close)
- Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.1% at 3,414.49 (close)
- Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday
- Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1846 from $1.1857 at 10 pm GMT
- Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3325 from $1.3275
- Dollar/yen: UP at 104.54 yen from 103.86 yen
- Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.86 pence from 89.25 pence
- West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.5% at $43.06 per barrel
- Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.4% at $46.06 per barrel
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