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Rising infections, weak US jobs data brake markets

European and United States stock markets posted mixed results on Wednesday, November 25, as dealers tried to quantify the impact of a rise in coronavirus infections around the world.

Though the Nasdaq claimed a new record high, worse-than-expected US jobless claims data reinforced a generally downbeat mood on Wall Street, with the Dow losing steam and closing below 30,000 points one day after it finished above that level for the first time.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index remained in the red to the end with a decline of 0.6% and Frankfurt was essentially unchanged, but Paris closed with a slight gain following a mixed session in Asia.

Oil prices continued their ascent towards $50 per barrel on vaccine hopes, while the dollar slipped against the euro and yen.

"European markets are largely treading water...with recent vaccine-led gains starting to fade once again," said analyst Joshua Mahony at trading firm IG.

Applications for jobless aid marked their second straight weekly increase with 778,000 new filings last week, fueling concerns that a renewed economic downturn is beginning.

"Many businesses have closed down for good and many jobs will never return," noted Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst at ThinkMarkets.

Other US data was mixed. New home sales remained strong and durable goods orders increased more than expected in October, even as consumers saw their incomes fall last month.

US markets will be closed on Thursday, November 26, for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In Asia, investors had rushed out of the blocks early on Wednesday following the blockbuster US performance a day before, as vaccine successes and easing political uncertainty boosted investor confidence in the economic recovery.

Signs that infection rates in Europe are slowing enough to allow some countries to ease lockdown measures added to the sense of hope across trading floors.

Excitement was nonetheless tempered by a high number of new cases and deaths, as well as a pickup of cases in other nations that are causing governments to reimpose containment measures.

Key figures around 10:15 pm GMT
  • New York - Dow: DOWN 0.6% at 29,872.47 (close)
  • New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.2% at 3,629.65 (close)
  • New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.5% at 12,094.40 (close)
  • London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6% at 6,391.09 points (close)
  • Frankfurt - DAX 30: FLAT at 13,289.80 (close)
  • Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2% at 5,571.29 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1% at 3,511.90 (close)
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5% at 26,296.86 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.3% at 26,669.75 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.2% at 3,362.33 (close)
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1914 from $1.1892 at 10 pm GMT
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3378 from $1.3357
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 104.45 yen from 104.44 yen
  • Euro/pound: UP at 89.05 from 89.03 pence
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.8% at $45.71 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.6% at $48.61 per barrel

– Rappler.com