By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Vildana Hajric · BUSINESS, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS
Tech shares led U.S. equity indexes higher, with the stay-home trade gaining appeal as investors considered the impact of tougher virus restrictions on economic growth along with the outlook for widespread vaccine distribution within months.
Advances for Microsoft, Amazon and Adobe lifted the Nasdaq 100. Tesla rose to a record as investors bet that the global car market will be dominated by electric cars in decades ahead. The S&P 500 index edged higher, but it underperformed the tech-heavy gauge as investors sought shares of companies poised to do well during lockdowns.
Treasury yields slipped, and the dollar dipped after U.S. weekly jobless claims came in higher than forecast. Gold dropped for a fourth day amid a drawdown in bullion-backed exchange-traded funds.
The bullish fever that lifted the MSCI World index to an all-time high Monday has softened, with virus cases surging in many parts of the world and public health facilities being pushed to the brink. New York City announced that it will close schools, and South Australia began one of the world’s toughest lockdowns, with even outdoor exercise and dog-walking banned. In Tokyo, the virus alert was raised to the highest levels as daily infections topped 500 for the first time.
It all means investors are grappling with how long and how severe the pandemic will be in the months ahead. There’s economic stress now as businesses struggle under lockdowns, but scientists are also rapidly advancing several vaccine candidates to get life back to normal.
“There’s the push-pull of short-term versus long-term and that’s what investors are looking at right now,” said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA Bank. “There are some very serious risks in the short term, especially with the lockdowns.”
In a report published Thursday, the International Monetary Fund noted progress on a vaccine, but also said elevated asset prices point to a disconnect from the real economy and a potential threat to financial stability.
“While global economic activity has picked up since June, there are signs that the recovery may be losing momentum, and the crisis is likely to leave deep, unequal scars,” officials at the Washington-based fund said. “Uncertainty and risks are exceptionally high.”
In Europe, cyclical shares led stocks lower. Norwegian Air Shuttle plunged 16% after seeking protection from creditors amid the travel upheaval caused by the pandemic.
In other markets, the MSCI Asia Pacific index fell for the first time in 14 days, ending the longest winning run since 1988. Commodities dropped and Bitcoin steadied after surging past $18,000 on Wednesday.
Turkey’s lira strengthened after the country’s new central bank governor raised the benchmark interest rate.
These are the main moves in markets:
– – –
– The S&P 500 index rose 0.4% at 4 p.m. New York time.
– The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.8%.
– The MSCI Asia Pacific index declined 0.2%.
– The MSCI Emerging Market index dipped 0.5%.
– The Bloomberg Dollar Spot index slumped 0.2%.
– The euro rose 0.2%, to $1.1877.
– The British pound was little changed at $1.3276.
– The Japanese yen was little changed at 103.77 per dollar.
– The yield on 10-year Treasuries decreased two basis points, to 0.85%.
– Germany’s 10-year yield fell two basis points, to -0.57%.
– Britain’s 10-year yield declined one basis point, to 0.32%.
– West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.2%, to $41.92 a barrel
– Gold weakened 0.3%, to $1,866.69 an ounce.