Global stocks rally on vaccine hopes, crude oil gains
By Herbert Lash and Marc Jones NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - World shares strode to four-month highs on Wednesday as hopes for a coronavirus vaccine offset rising U.S.-China tensions and helped lift the euro and oil prices. Asian markets were choppy after more barbs between Beijing and Washington over Hong Kong, but gains of almost 2% in European bourses and Wall Street's advance pushed aside concerns about the still growing number of COVID cases. An experimental vaccine produced by biotech start-up Moderna Inc drew safe immune responses in all 45 healthy volunteers, an early stage trial showed on Tuesday.
By Herbert Lash and Marc Jones
NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - World shares strode to four-month highs on Wednesday as hopes for a coronavirus vaccine offset rising U.S.-China tensions and helped lift the euro and oil prices.
Asian markets were choppy after more barbs between Beijing and Washington over Hong Kong, but gains of almost 2% in European bourses and Wall Street's advance pushed aside concerns about the still growing number of COVID cases.
An experimental vaccine produced by biotech start-up Moderna Inc
U.S. Treasury yields rose and the yield curve steepened, indicating a wider spread between long- and short-term interest rates, as hopes for a vaccine boosted risk appetite and upbeat economic data released on Wednesday added to the optimism.
"The market is trading fairly 'risk on' on vaccine hopes," said Gennadiy Goldberg, an interest rate strategist at TD Securities in New York. "It's largely COVID news driving the price action recently."
U.S. industrial production, manufacturing output and plant capacity rose more than expected in June and there was a bigger- than-expected draw in U.S. crude and refined products last week as demand edges up.
Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> rose 1.65%, as growth-sensitive sectors such as travel & leisure <.SXTP>, miners <.SXPP> and industrial companies <.SXNP> led gains.
Moderna surged 9% to a record high after its experimental vaccine produced high levels of virus-killing antibodies, bolstering hopes it could prove effective in later stages of testing.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 0.7%, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 0.86% and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 0.61%.
Stocks that have benefited from widespread lockdowns, including Amazon
Hopes of progress this week towards a deal on the European Union's 750 billion-euro COVID recovery fund helped sentiment in Europe. The euro traded above $1.1430
The European Central Bank started a two-day meeting, though no major announcement is expected when it concludes on Thursday.
Chinese shares fell 1.3% <.CSI300> and Hong Kong <.HSI> ended flat, after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered an end to Hong Kong's special status under U.S. law to punish China for its "oppressive actions" against the former British colony.
That prompted a retaliatory warning from China's foreign ministry that "Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs and no foreign country has the right to interfere."
Japan's Nikkei <.N225> and Australia's benchmark index remained upbeat, finishing up 1.6% and 1.9%, respectively.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs
Graphic: Bulls in the China shop - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/xlbvgoaxlvq/Pasted%20image%201594813858864.png
The dollar was on the defensive, particularly against risk-sensitive currencies, following the news of progress in vaccine development.
The Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy steady, as expected, on Wednesday though it warned that uncertainty over the economic outlook was "extremely high" due to various risks, including rising coronavirus infections in Tokyo, which was put on "red alert" on Wednesday.
Oil rose on the sharp drop in U.S. inventories, but further gains were limited as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies are set to ease supply curbs from August as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.
Gold prices held above $1,800 an ounce as the surge in coronavirus cases and renewed U.S.-China tensions bolstered safe-haven demand, but the rally in stocks capped the advance.
U.S. gold futures
(Reporting by Marc Jones and Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Karen Brettell in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
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