Stocks Reach Record Peak, Sterling Eyes Brexit Talks
On Wednesday, global stocks reached record highs as investors shifted on positive news regarding COVID-19 vaccines and efforts on providing more financial aid, while sterling edged up as European and British leaders meet for negotiating on a Brexit trade deal. US lawmakers continued their negotiations over additional fiscal stimulus for helping offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while also pursuing a stopgap bill for government funding. The leaders of both sides are adamant that a trade deal must be made, but they are still working through the sticky points, which include business liability protections and aid to local and state governments.
Investor spirits also got a boost over the steady stream of positive news on the coronavirus vaccines. On Tuesday, Britain became the first Western country for launching a wide vaccination campaign. Meanwhile, it was reported by Johnson and Johnson that it could get late-stage trial results in January for a single-dose vaccine, which was earlier than expectations. In addition, another hurdle was cleared by Pfizer Inc. when documents were released by the US health regulator that flagged no new efficacy or safety concerns. Market analysts said that the momentum will be a bit slower than expected because there are some logistics involved where vaccines are concerned.
Moreover, the COVID-19 vaccines will not change the winter picture, but next year will bring some positive returns, which means things may be looking up for the global economy. There was a 0.3% jump in the MSCI’s broadest gauge of world stocks. It has been on a roll for the last few weeks and has increased by 15% since the start of last month. European stocks surged by 0.65% to reach nine-month highs, while there was a 1% gain in German DAX futures. London’s FTSE 100, which has suffered the hardest amongst the global indexes, also increased by 0.8%.
There was also a 0.6% increase in MSCI’s Asia-Pacific shares index other than Japan, which helped it reach a record high. The euro fell by 0.2% against the British pound and the sterling increased by 0.45% against the US dollar before the European Union and Britain are scheduled for a last-ditch attempt on Brexit talks. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have dinner with Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission for avoiding a no-trade deal outcome when the transition period ends in the next three weeks. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said that a deal was still possible.
There was a fall in eurozone bond yields before the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday, at which additional monetary stimulus has already been signaled. The US dollar was trading at 90.755 against a basket of other major currencies, after hitting a two-and-a-half-year low last week. The greenback’s weakness was highlighted, as there was a strengthening in the offshore Chinese yuan that helped it reach its strongest level in two years. The onshore yuan was also trading at its highest level in two years. There was a 0.6% gain in Australian shares while a surge of 1.3% was seen in Japan’s Nikkei.