By David Randall
NEW YORK (Reuters) – World equity benchmarks hovered near record highs and the dollar hit fresh 2-1/2-year lows on Wednesday as investors weighed the first approval of a coronavirus vaccine and the prospects for more U.S. economic stimulus with disappointing American jobs data.
Britain approved Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, jumping ahead of the United States and Europe to become the first country to do so for the newly developed treatment. Inoculations should begin among the most vulnerable segments of its population early next week.
U.S. health officials have announced plans to start vaccinating Americans as early as mid-December, once regulatory approvals are in place.
“Early vaccines will help bolster the reflation and normalcy trade, which has been the key macro theme in driving equity markets,” said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.
Yet, disappointing private jobs data in the United States kept a lid on gains and helped support safe-haven assets. Employers added 307,000 jobs last month, well below the 410,000 expected by economists polled by Reuters, according to the ADP National Employment Report.
The dollar index fell 0.104%, while U.S. benchmark 10-year notes last fell 3/32 in price to yield 0.9442%, up from 0.934% Tuesday.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.27% following modest gains in Asia and mixed trading in Europe.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 59.87 points, or 0.2%, to 29,883.79; the S&P 500 gained 6.55 points, or 0.18%, to 3,669; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.74 points, or 0.05%, to 12,349.37.
U.S. stock benchmarks closed at record highs on Tuesday.
“General risk sentiment is unchanged – perhaps there’s a bit of consolidation today, but that’s understandable given where we’ve come from since November,” said Derek Halpenny, EMEA head of research for global markets at MUFG. The dollar lost more than 2.5% of its value in November.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress remained unable to agree on a support package for the pandemic-hit U.S. economy on Wednesday, with top Republicans supporting what the Senate’s top Democrat dismissed as an “inadequate, partisan proposal.”
Spot gold added 0.7% to $1,828.23 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.72% to $1,827.20 an ounce
Oil prices climbed on anticipation that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will maintain production limits next year.
U.S. crude rose 1.3% to $45.13 per barrel and Brent was at $48.20, up 1.64% on the day.
Oil has raced up nearly 30% over the last month.
(Reporting by David Randall; editing by Jonathan Oatis; Editing by Paul Simao and Bernadette Baum)