Global equity markets jump, bonds dip, on hopes of vaccine-led recovery

FILE PHOTO: Vials and medical syringe are seen in front of Pfizer logo in this illustration

By David Randall

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stock markets rose and safe havens such as U.S. Treasury bonds dipped Tuesday as strong factory data and signs that coronavirus vaccinations could be administered by the end of the year helped prolong a worldwide rally in risk assets even as the pandemic accelerated.

Bets on more easing from the U.S. Federal Reserve to help the economy through the winter pushed the dollar index down 0.817% to 2-1/2-year lows as riskier currencies rose.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, meanwhile, fell 24/32 in price to yield 0.9194%, from 0.842% late on Monday, as Congress began a two-week sprint to secure funding and avoid a possible government shutdown.

“We believe the rally can continue, with the current pipeline of expected vaccine rollouts, in line with our central scenario of widespread availability in the second quarter of 2021,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management in Zurich.

Pfizer Inc said it had asked for emergency European Union authorization of its vaccine after a similar move in the United States last month.

On Monday, Moderna Inc applied for U.S. authorization after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1% effective with no serious safety concerns.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.16% following broad gains in Europe and Asia, with Japan’s Nikkei closing near a 29-1/2-year high.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index rose 2.2% after a business survey showed factory activity accelerated at the fastest pace in a decade in November. In the UK last month, factories recorded their fastest growth in almost three years, a survey showed.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 185.28 points, or 0.63%, to 29,823.92, the S&P 500 gained 40.82 points, or 1.13%, to 3,662.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 156.37 points, or 1.28%, to 12,355.11.

In November, breakthroughs in vaccine developments from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca along with a market-friendly outcome of the U.S. presidential election helped the MSCI world stock index score its biggest monthly rise on record, up 12% to new all-time peaks.

Coronavirus cases have touched multimonth highs in South Korea, Hong Kong and Europe over the last week, while the United States posted a record 4.2 million new cases in November.

“What we are seeing today is that upward trend reasserting itself, given the positive news on the vaccine front, China’s growth picking up, and the tremendous faith in the ability of central banks to keep the markets afloat,” said Stephen Miller, market strategist for GSFM Funds Management.

In a speech released late on Monday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said a slowing recovery and a surging pandemic meant the United States was entering a “challenging” few months, with the potential deployment of a vaccine still facing hurdles.

Oil prices fell after leading producers delayed talks on 2021 output policy, while the pandemic kept sapping fuel demand.

U.S. crude fell 1.68% to $44.58 per barrel and Brent was at $47.38, down 1.04% on the day.

(Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Nick Zieminski, Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio and Cynthia Osterman)