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World stocks near record peak, dollar stumbles again


LONDON (#Reuters) – #World stocks edged closer to recent record highs and #Asian shares hit a record peak on #Wednesday, as investors bet on a strong economic recovery next year, with the upbeat mood pushing the safe-haven dollar to its lowest since #April 2018.

FILE PHOTO: #People wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, are reflected on a screen showing #Nikkei index, outside a brokerage in #Tokyo, #Japan #February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Athit #Perawongmetha

#Europe’s main markets were hoping for a sixth straight session of gains as #AstraZeneca and #Oxford #University’s coronavirus vaccine became the second to be approved by #Britain, helping the FTSE 100 add as much as 0.2% early on.

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A new, more transmittable variant of the virus is spreading rapidly but #European #Union countries have also begun rolling out #Pfizer and #BioNTech’s vaccine this week.

#Wall #Street was set to open higher, too, with S&P 500 futures up 0.4%. U.S. stocks had retreated from an intraday record high on #Tuesday after #Senate #Majority #Leader #Mitch #McConnell had put off a vote on #President #Donald #Trump’s call to increase COVID-19 relief checks.

The #United #States also detected its first-known case of the new, highly infectious coronavirus strains already spotted in #Britain and #South #Africa.

MSCI’s world stocks index remained upbeat, however, up 0.2% and within touching distance of the record highs it had set on #Tuesday.

The index is up 14% this year and nearly 70% from its #March lows, boosted by trillions of dollars in global economic stimulus and hopes that coronavirus vaccines will re-open locked-down economies.

“The prospect of more rapid and widespread inoculation will be a shot of confidence to markets as the COVID-19 struggle intensifies,” said #Janet #Mui, investment director at wealth manager #Brewin #Dolphin.

#Away from the virus worries, #British lawmakers were set to vote on the UK-European #Union trade deal later on #Wednesday, a day before a #Brexit transition arrangement expires.

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MSCI’s gauge of #Asia-Pacific shares excluding #Japan rose 1.4% to a record high, led by gains in #Chinese shares and bringing its gains this year to 19%.

#Japan’s #Nikkei share average lost 0.45%, however, on its last trading day of 2020 after jumping to a 30-year high on #Tuesday. [.T]

#Conviction that global monetary authorities will continue to pump liquidity into the banking system to support the pandemic-stricken economy underpin risk assets.

#Although many #Republican #Senators in the #United #States remain adamantly opposed to increasing relief payments, support is growing among them, including two from #Georgia, who are running in crucial races that will determine who will control the #Senate.

#In currency markets, the dollar’s weakness continued. #It dropped again on #Wednesday, the first day where settlement of trades will be in 2021.

The U.S. dollar index hit its lowest since #April 2018 before recovering a little ground. #It was last down 0.12%. The euro reached its highest since #April 2018 at close to $1.23.

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“The start of COVID‑19 immunization campaigns in several countries as well as additional U.S. fiscal support reduce downside risk to the global economy and bode well for general financial market sentiment,” analysts at #Commonwealth #Bank of #Australia said in a note.

The #Australian dollar rose 0.6% to $0.7663, a two-and-a-half-year high. #Sterling traded up 0.34% at $1.355. The #Japanese yen also gained 0.25% to 103.28 per dollar.

#German 10-year bond yields [DE10YT=RR] – which move inversely to price – gained 0.015 basis points. #Oil prices extended their recent climb on hopes stimulus and reopening of economies next year will spur fuel demand.

U.S. #West #Texas #Intermediate crude futures were up 0.73% at $48.35 a barrel [O/R]. #Gold was steady at $1,878.5 an ounce. [GOL/]



[ source link ]
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-markets/asian-shares-jump-to-record-high-as-investors-bet-on-healthier-2021-idUSKBN29400Y

##World #stocks #record #peak #dollar #stumbles

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