NEW YORK – Major US stock indices drifted to fresh records Friday as markets continued to look past rising coronavirus cases toward a better 2021 economy with likely vaccines.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched all-time highs, while the Dow edged higher, joining European equity markets, which earlier won modest gains.
Many US traders had taken advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday to give themselves a long weekend.
“We look set for a quiet end to the week,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.
“This end-of-week caution appears to be predicated on concern over the short-term economic outlook, as the extension of tighter restrictions on economic activity in France, Germany and the UK creates further uncertainty over the potential for permanent economic scarring as we head into 2021.”
Asian markets maintained their upward momentum Friday as investors took heart from the prospect of vaccines being rolled out in the coming weeks.
Hopes are high that, with at least three in the pipeline, life can begin to get back to normal next year and give the battered global economy a much-needed boost.
“The vaccine story is undoubtedly good news; however, there is some concern as to what the economic landscape will look like when we come out of the other side of winter,” cautioned Hewson.
Markets were also encouraged by easing US political uncertainty after Joe Biden’s election win and Donald Trump’s announcement Thursday that while he thinks the vote was rigged he will step aside if the Electoral College hands him defeat next month.
However, the rally has been kept in check by a frightening surge in virus infections across the US and Europe, with some other countries including Japan and South Korea now seeing spikes as well.
There is concern about a further acceleration in the US after millions ignored official advice and travelled to celebrate Thanksgiving, with infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci saying he expected to see “a surge superimposed upon a surge” after the holiday.
– Key figures around 1945 GMT –
New York – Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 29,910.37 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 0.2 percent at 3,638.35 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.9 percent at 12,205.85 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 6,367.58 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 13,335.68 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.6 percent at 5,598.18 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent at 3,527.79 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 26,644.71 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 26,894.68 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.1 percent at 3,408.31 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1959 from $1.1913 at 2200 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3304 from $1.3358
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 104.03 yen from 104.26 yen
Euro/pound: UP at 89.88 pence from 89.19 pence
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.4 percent at $45.53 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.8 percent at $48.18 per barrel
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