Global Markets: Stocks hold near record as investors weigh vaccine hope and virus concern

By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks held near a record on Tuesday, even as rising coronavirus cases raised concerns about fresh lockdown measures and tamped down recent optimism over promising vaccine trial results. U.S

Reuters November 18, 2020 03:05:57 IST
Global Markets: Stocks hold near record as investors weigh vaccine hope and virus concern

Global Markets Stocks hold near record as investors weigh vaccine hope and virus concern

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks held near a record on Tuesday, even as rising coronavirus cases raised concerns about fresh lockdown measures and tamped down recent optimism over promising vaccine trial results.

U.S. stocks had moved off their worst levels of the day but the Dow and S&P 500 remained in the red as several states imposed new restrictions on gatherings amid climbing COVID-19 cases and the onset of colder weather.

The Nasdaq was able to show a modest gain, however, in part due to a 9.25% jump in Tesla on news the electric car maker will be added to the S&P 500 in December.

Investors cheered positive vaccine trial results from Moderna on Monday, the second upbeat report on a coronavirus trial in a week.

"You have that push and pull of you had the Pfizer news last week and the Moderna news this week," said Tom Hainlin, global investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management's Ascent Private Wealth Group in Minneapolis.

"We haven’t had a lot of follow through because the pull on the other side is watching the case growth and watching the states enact renewed restrictions on an individual’s mobility and business activity."

Still, analysts have warned that absent a new fiscal stimulus package, the economy is likely to falter until a vaccine is available for distribution.

Data on Tuesday showed retail sales increased less than forecast in October, with the potential for even further slowing. Factory production accelerated but remained well below levels prior to the pandemic.

Federal reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that the current surge in coronavirus cases is a big concern, and the economy will continue to need both fiscal and monetary policy support.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 145.93 points, or 0.49%, to 29,804.51, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 8.7 points, or 0.24%, to 3,618.21 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 11.40 points, or 0.1%, to 11,935.52.

European shares closed lower, as the STOXX 600 dipped from an eight-month high, as Sweden moved to restrict the size of public gatherings and a British medical adviser suggested strengthening the three-tier system of restrictions when the full lockdown in England ends.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> lost 0.24% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.01% after closing at a record 613.61 in the prior session.

U.S. Treasury yields fell in the wake of the retail sales report as it underscored the possibility of a slowdown in the fourth quarter.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 10/32 in price to yield 0.8734%, from 0.906% late on Monday.

The U.S. dollar remained soft, touching its lowest level in a week, with expectations for continued weakness on expectations for more fiscal and monetary stimulus as well as optimism over a potential vaccine.

The dollar index <=USD> fell 0.077%, with the euro up 0.09% to $1.1864.

The offshore Chinese yuan rose to its highest since June 2018 against the dollar, as positive economic data in the world's second largest economy buoys the currency.

(GRAPHIC: China's Yuan is surging - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/xegpbqjmlvq/Pasted%20image%201605617145961.png)

Crude prices fell back, as short-term demand concerns overshadowed vaccine hopes and the possibility of tighter supply policy from OPEC+ in 2021.

U.S. crude recently fell 0.6% to $41.09 per barrel and Brent was at $43.46, down 0.82% on the day.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; additional reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Tom Brown)

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