Stocks Rally as Wall Street’s Covid Fears Ease: Markets Wrap
(Bloomberg) -- Stocks climbed and bonds fell as a relative sense of calm returned to global markets, with investors reassessing their worst-case scenarios for the omicron coronavirus strain.
In a broad-based rally, the S&P 500 posted the biggest advance in more than a month -- wiping out its November losses. The Nasdaq 100 outperformed major equity benchmarks amid gains in technology giants such as Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Treasury 10-year yields topped 1.5%, while the U.S. dollar was little changed.
President Joe Biden cautioned Americans against panicking over the new variant, while Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said omicron poses risks to both sides of the central bank’s mandate to achieve stable prices and maximum employment. Pfizer Inc. will know within two to three weeks how well its Covid-19 vaccine holds up against omicron, according to its top executive.
“Investors are evidently making an assumption today that omicron may not be as bad as had been feared on Friday, and that vaccines may still prove effective,” wrote Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst with ThinkMarkets. “It will take some time -- possibly a couple of weeks at least -- to understand this variant better. So, what might happen going forward is that we will see elevated levels of volatility.”
A forward-looking gauge of U.S. home purchases rebounded in October to a 10-month high, signaling steady housing demand. The National Association of Realtors’ index of pending home sales rose 7.5% from a month earlier. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 1% advance.
Some other corporate highlights:
- Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., is stepping down from the helm of the social network, ceding the position to tech head Parag Agrawal.
- Hertz Global Holdings Inc. plans to repurchase as much as $2 billion of its common stock, the latest move to realign its finances just months after exiting bankruptcy protection.
- Walmart Inc. said Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs plans to step down by early 2023, ending a run of more than two decades with the retail giant.
Some key events to watch this week:
- Powell will appear at a Senate Banking Committee hearing alongside Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday. They’re set to speak again on the following day at the House Financial Services Committee.
- China PMIs, Tuesday
- Euro zone CPI, Tuesday
- U.S. Conference Board consumer confidence, Tuesday
- China Caixin manufacturing PMI, Wednesday
- Euro zone manufacturing PMI, Wednesday
- U.S. construction spending, ISM Manufacturing, Fed’s Beige Book on Wednesday
- OPEC, allies may re-evaluate plans for reviving oil supplies, Thursday
- U.S. initial jobless claims, Thursday
- U.S. jobs report, factory orders, durable goods on Friday
For more market analysis, read our MLIV blog.
Some of the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 rose 1.3% as of 4 p.m. New York time
- The Nasdaq 100 rose 2.3%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7%
- The MSCI World index rose 0.7%
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed
- The euro fell 0.3% to $1.1280
- The British pound fell 0.2% to $1.3304
- The Japanese yen fell 0.3% to 113.67 per dollar
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced four basis points to 1.51%
- Germany’s 10-year yield advanced two basis points to -0.32%
- Britain’s 10-year yield advanced four basis points to 0.86%
- West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2.2% to $69.68 a barrel
- Gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,784.70 an ounce
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