World stocks hit record on vaccine bump, dollar lower for fifth straight session

By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global shares hit a record for a third straight day while the dollar moved off earlier lows on Wednesday as further positive COVID-19 vaccine news helped temper concerns about rising infection rates and related economic damage. On Wall Street, Pfizer shares gained 1.50% after the drugmaker said its COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective and the company would apply for emergency U.S. authorization within days.

Reuters November 19, 2020 01:06:03 IST
World stocks hit record on vaccine bump, dollar lower for fifth straight session

World stocks hit record on vaccine bump dollar lower for fifth straight session

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global shares hit a record for a third straight day while the dollar moved off earlier lows on Wednesday as further positive COVID-19 vaccine news helped temper concerns about rising infection rates and related economic damage.

On Wall Street, Pfizer shares gained 1.50% after the drugmaker said its COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective and the company would apply for emergency U.S. authorization within days.

Pfizer's announcement came on the heels of a similar report from Moderna's on the effectiveness of its vaccine.

While the three major averages held near the unchanged mark, Boeing climbed 0.47% after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ended the flight ban on the planemaker's 737 MAX jet.

Still, with many major equity indexes at or near record levels, analysts caution additional stimulus measures are needed to buttress the economy until a vaccine can be widely distributed.

"What we are dealing from a virus standpoint is front and center, it is right in our faces, and the vaccine brings a level of optimism that is no doubt positive from a humanity standpoint as well as the markets," said Keith Buchanan, senior portfolio manager at Globalt in Atlanta.

"But where we go from here to when those vaccinations can actually hit the ground and be considered widespread is causing some concern."

A report on U.S. homebuilding showed the housing market continues to be a bright spot even as other parts of the economy are showing signs of strain from rising coronavirus cases.

(GRAPHIC: Housing starts - https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-STOCKS/rlgpdaxwmvo/hsbp.png)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 8.4 points, or 0.03%, to 29,774.95, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 0.98 points, or 0.03%, to 3,608.55 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 17.16 points, or 0.14%, to 11,916.50.

After a sluggish start, European shares closed higher as vaccine optimism and a round of takeover deals helped offset concerns over fresh lockdown measures to slow the spread of the virus in the region.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> rose 0.44% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.18%, touching an intraday record for a third consecutive session.

While the U.S. dollar moved off its earlier lows following the housing data, the greenback was still on pace for its fifth straight decline as the Pfizer news gave investors an appetite for some risk taking.

The dollar index <=USD> fell 0.153%, with the euro up 0.03% to $1.1865.

The weaker dollar also helped lift the pound, along with hopes Britain will be able to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union before its departure from the EU's customs union and single market in January. Sterling was last trading at $1.3287, up 0.35% on the day.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 4/32 in price to yield 0.8832%, from 0.872% late on Tuesday.

The increased risk appetite on the vaccine news also helped oil prices advance, along with hopes OPEC and its allies will delay a planned increase in oil output.

U.S. crude rose 1.59% to $42.09 per barrel and Brent was at $44.61, up 1.97% on the day.

Safe haven gold , meanwhile, dropped 0.3% to $1,872.86 an ounce.

(Additional reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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