Stocks drop as economic worries weigh, sterling up slightly
By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity indexes fell on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 down nearly 1% as negotiations for further fiscal stimulus dragged on, while sterling inched up after recent weakness. Nasdaq was down about 2% and led losses on Wall Street in afternoon New York trading
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity indexes fell on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 down nearly 1% as negotiations for further fiscal stimulus dragged on, while sterling inched up after recent weakness.
Nasdaq was down about 2% and led losses on Wall Street in afternoon New York trading.
Investors were awaiting news on further U.S. economic relief as the coronavirus pandemic continued to take its toll on the economy.
The U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote Wednesday on a one-week stopgap funding bill that will buy more time to reach a deal on COVID-19 relief, with separate aid packages of more than $900 billion on the table.
"We had a pretty nice boost in the morning on speculation that we might get a new package, but it's kind of an on-again and off-again thing," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin.
Johnson & Johnson this week said it could obtain late-stage trial results for a single-dose vaccine in January, earlier than expected.
Britain this week became the first Western nation to begin a wide vaccination campaign. However, Britain injected a note of caution, saying people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely to the Pfizer vaccine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 146.7 points, or 0.49%, to 30,027.18, the S&P 500 lost 33.28 points, or 0.90%, to 3,668.97 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 249.93 points, or 1.99%, to 12,332.85.
The S&P 500 had hit a record high earlier in the session.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.32% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.62%, also hitting a record high earlier.
Sterling was last trading at $1.3364, up 0.08% on the day.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the European Union on Wednesday it must scrap demands that he says are unacceptable if there is to be a Brexit trade deal to avoid a turbulent breakup in three weeks.
The dollar index rose 0.278%.
U.S. Treasury yields rose on hopes of more domestic fiscal stimulus.
Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 7/32 in price to yield 0.94%, from 0.91% late on Tuesday.
Oil futures were down modestly, while spot gold prices were down more than 2%, with the start of vaccine treatment reducing safe-haven demand for the precious metal.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Additional reporting by Carolyn Cohn in London and Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; editing by Chris Reese and Nick Zieminski)
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
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.