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Global Markets: Vaccine euphoria keeps stocks cruising higher – Reuters

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 posted a modest loss and the Nasdaq closed sharply lower on Tuesday as promising news regarding an effective COVID-19 vaccine led investors away from market leaders and toward cyclical stocks associated with economic recovery.

The New York Stock Exchange is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The blue-chip Dow, buoyed by industrial shares, gained ground and crude oil prices extended the previous session’s surge as investors bet on a demand rebound.

Pfizer Inc PFE.N announced on Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed with German partner BioNTech 22UAy.DE, showed in trials it had a 90% success rate in preventing infection.

The development led to investors taking profits from market-leading tech stocks that have thrived amid the pandemic recession, a sell-off which pulled the tech-heavy Nasdaq deep into red territory.

“Equity markets in the U.S. have experienced the start of a significant rotation following the vaccine announcement,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. “It’s been a dramatic change and it’s all in anticipation of returning to some form of economic normalcy once the vaccine has been distributed to the broad population.”

“The caveat is there’s a second wave to the virus that’s infecting a record number of people,” Ghriskey added. “But at least for now the markets are willing to look through that economic pain to better days ahead once the virus has been eradicated.”

Uncertainties from Washington still simmer in the background as President Donald Trump continued to press for investigations of election fraud following his defeat by Democrat challenger Joe Biden.

“The circus going on in DC which is causing concern about a smooth transition of administrations in the months ahead,” Ghriskey said. “The flames coming out of Washington are unrelenting and constant.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 262.95 points, or 0.9%, to 29,420.92, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 4.97 points, or 0.14%, to 3,545.53 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 159.93 points, or 1.37%, to 11,553.86.

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European shares extended their gains on lingering vaccine optimism and news that EU negotiators have agreed on a budget, a crucial step toward activating the bloc’s 1.8 trillion euro recovery package.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.90% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS %.

Emerging market stocks lost 1.16%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS closed 0.69% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei .N225 rose 0.26%.

U.S. Treasury yields inched lower on Tuesday in choppy trading, consolidating the previous session’s gains due to economic optimism in the wake of positive news on a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last rose 1/32 in price to yield 0.9561%, from 0.958% late on Monday.

The 30-year bond US30YT=RR last rose 7/32 in price to yield 1.7408%, from 1.751% late on Monday.

Oil prices extended Monday’s surge, which gave the commodity its biggest daily percentage gain in five months, as views of a possible medical solution to the pandemic outweighed sagging demand from new lockdowns to contain the virus.

U.S. crude rose 2.66% to settle at $41.36 per barrel, while Brent settled at $43.61 per barrel, up 2.85% on the day.

The dollar held its ground against a basket of currencies and the yen hovered near three-week lows as the forex markets absorbed Monday’s big moves due to vaccine developments.

The dollar index rose 0.08%, with the euro down 0.05% to $1.1807.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.08% versus the greenback at 105.30 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3249, up 0.65% on the day.

Gold regained some ground lost in Monday’s plunge expectations of fiscal and monetary stimulus offered support to the safe-haven metal.

Spot gold added 0.6% to $1,873.53 an ounce.

Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Tom Brown

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Trudeau warns COVID-19 vaccine will come later to Canada than other countries – National Post

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Article content continued

“The issue of domestic vaccine manufacturing supply was identified as an issue after the H1N1 pandemic,” she said. “This issue in and of itself should not have come as a surprise to the Prime Minister or to the Health Minister or to the Procurement Minister when looking at a COVID vaccine rollout plan.”

Andrew Casey, president and CEO of Biotech Canada an industry association, said the prime minister is partially right, especially with the leading candidates.

“For two of the three vaccines that we now know about, the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines, those are mRNA vaccines, which there is no manufacturing for that in Canada,” he said. “In fact, it’s very limited around the world because it’s such a novel vaccine.”

The prime minister told the House that Canadians would be first in line to receive the vaccine

Casey said there is plenty of manufacturing capacity in Canada for making vaccines, but it uses different types of technology and can’t be easily switched to something different.

“One type of vaccine is like making wine and the other one is like making coke. Yes, they’re both put in bottles, and you can drink them with straws, but they’re very different processes.”

He said the manufacturers in Canada also have other orders they are processing for the flu and for childhood vaccinations and couldn’t just scrap that production for COVID even if the technology was interchangeable. Given Canada’s limitations, Casey said, buying access to as many doses as possible from other countries was a good move.

Casey said for large pharmaceutical companies it will take more than just money to build facilities in Canada and the government will have to think about investments in research, drug pricing and regulations structures and other issues.

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1 in 3 Toronto schools, nearly half of Brampton schools, have active COVID-19 cases – CityNews Toronto

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One in three Toronto public schools have an active case of COVID-19 – more than double the provincial average being touted by Ontario’s education minister as he promotes the government’s school safety strategy and the picture worsens at other boards in pandemic hot spots.

In Toronto’s public board, 35 per cent of schools, some 206 facilities, have at least one student or staff member who are reported as actively sick with COVID-19. Of Toronto’s Catholic schools, 40 per cent – or 79 institutions — have active cases. In Brampton, 48 per cent of all schools, both public and Catholic, have active cases.

Toronto and Peel are in lockdown so it’s no surprise they have more cases than the provincial average, but the premier has acknowledged it’s concerning.

“It is definitely setting off alarm bells,” Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference Tuesday.

The government has consistently said it is safer for students to be in school, and that the priority is to keep them open. It has never mentioned that cases in locked-down regions are significantly higher than the provincial average, which is 14.6 percent. Four schools are currently closed due to outbreaks.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce stood in the legislature Monday and insisted schools were safe.

“Parents want the facts. Here’s a fact that I think would instill a level of confidence: if they knew that 99.95% of students are COVID-19-free, that 99.92% of staff are COVID-19-free, that 99.7% of staff have never had COVID-19,” said Lecce. “Our leadership in public health and our school boards are working together to flatten this curve, to reduce the risk and to keep our kids safe, and that is a good thing we should celebrate in this province”

In Brampton, 61 public schools and 28 Catholic schools are reporting 122 and 89 cases, respectively. In the public board, 51 schools beyond Brampton are reporting a further 78 cases. Of those, 46 schools are in Mississauga, four schools are in Caledon, and one is in Bolton.

In the Dufferin-Peel Catholic board, 37 schools outside of Brampton are reporting a total of 61 cases. All but one of those schools is in Mississauga, with the lone other location in Caledon.

Brampton’s percentage of schools with active COVID-19 cases exceeds the proportion in its school boards in large.

The rate across Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board, which includes Mississauga, Caledon, Bolton and Orangeville, is 43 per cent, with a total 65 of its 151 elementary and secondary schools reporting active cases. In Peel’s public board, which serves Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, the rate is 44 per cent, or 112 of the boards 257 schools.

CityNews has used the latest information posted on all the boards’ own websites to compile this data.

The premier said today that he was not downplaying cases at schools: “numbers don’t lie, they are out there.”

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has said several times it is important to keep schools open for children’s mental health, and while students and staff are bringing COVID-19 into schools, it’s not being spread inside them. Provincial Minister of Health Christine Elliott echoed that today, adding she would re-evaluate the situation if needed.

“If the circumstances change and there’s a huge increase in the number of cases in schools, we might have to take another look at it,” Elliott said.

Ontario has started deploying rapid testing in long-term care homes and rural communities. Ford called it a game-changer and suggested if schools needed testing, it could happen. University of Toronto epidemiologist Colin Furness says he doesn’t believe schools need to close, but he says those inside should be tested regularly.

“We should be doing surveillance testing broadly in the province, we should have been doing that since April. By surveillance testing, I mean you don’t test people who show up at hospital looking sick, that’s diagnostic testing. Surveillance testing means you go and test people at risk,” he explained.

“We should be testing teachers because they are also in high-risk positions, and if want to know what’s going on with COVID in schools, test teachers,” he added, “But Ontario has been very resolutely committed to not doing surveillance testing. We are not trying to control transmission with testing, we are controlling with lockdowns. I think that’s unfortunate.”

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Explained: Why the Dow topped 30000 for the first time – CTV News

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NEW YORK —
Wall Street busted through its latest milestone Tuesday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 30,000 for the first time.

The Dow rose 454.97 points, or 1.5%, to close at 30,046.24. Investors were encouraged by progress in the development of coronavirus vaccines and news that the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden is finally beginning. Traders also welcomed word that Biden has selected Janet Yellen, a widely respected former Federal Reserve chair, as treasury secretary.

The milestone is an attention-grabbing psychological threshold, and it’s an encouraging signal that the market’s rally is broadening beyond the handful of stocks that carried Wall Street through the pandemic. But the Dow at 30,000 means less to most investors’ 401(k) accounts than the fact that broader market indexes are also at record highs.

Here’s a look at how the Dow has rallied to its latest multiple of 10,000, the first time that’s happened since January 2017, and what it means for investors.

WHAT IS THE DOW, EXACTLY?

It’s a measure of 30 companies, mostly blue-chip stocks spread across a range of industries. They include tech stars like Apple and Microsoft, as well as more traditional industrial companies like Boeing and Caterpillar. Other behemoths in the Dow include Nike and The Walt Disney Co.

Unlike many other measures of the market, the most important thing for the Dow is how big a stock’s price is, not how much a company is worth in total. That means a 1% move for UnitedHealth Group has a bigger effect on the Dow than the same movement for Apple, even though Apple is worth more than six times the insurer. That’s because UnitedHealth Group’s stock price is US$336.01 versus $115.17 for Apple, due to having a smaller number of total shares.

HOW BIG A DEAL IS DOW 30,000?

It’s just an arbitrary number, and it doesn’t mean things are much better than when the Dow was at 29,999. What’s more impactful is that the Dow has finally clawed back all its losses from the pandemic and is once again reaching new heights. It is up 61.5% since dropping below 18,600 on March 23.

It took just over nine months for the Dow to surpass the record it had set in February, before panic about the coronavirus triggered the market’s breathtaking sell-off.

WHAT GOT THE DOW THIS HIGH?

The Dow’s rocket ride to 30,000 got big boosts from the Federal Reserve, which slashed short-term interest rates back to roughly zero and took other measures to stabilize financial markets, and Congress, which came through with trillions of dollars of financial aid for the economy.

The economy has improved since the pandemic’s initial shock. For instance, claims for unemployment benefits dropped from 6.9 million in March to 742,000 last week. Company profits didn’t tank as much as initially feared. And the possibility that a COVID vaccine could begin distribution by the end of the year has recently given the market more reason to be optimistic.

Among individual companies, Apple did much of the heavy lifting early in the Dow’s recovery after its price soared nearly $275 to above $500 by late August. A four-for-one stock split on Aug. 28 cut Apple’s stock price below $130, diminishing its impact on the Dow, even though its total market value continued to rise.

Since then, Honeywell and Caterpillar have provided the biggest boosts to the Dow as expectations have built for a recovering economy.

Looking over the longer term, profits strengthened sharply for most Dow companies since it first rose above the 20,000 threshold at the start of 2017. At American Express, for example, analysts expect earnings per share to bounce back from the pandemic and tally $6.69 next year, versus $6.07 in recurring earnings in 2016.

At the same time, investors today are more willing to pay higher prices for each $1 of earnings because alternatives are less attractive. The yield on the 10-year Treasury Tuesday was 0.88% compared with 2.5% in January 2017.

SO THIS MEANS MY 401K IS DOING BETTER?

Probably, but not because the Dow is at 30,000. For most 401(k) accounts, what matters much more is how the S&P 500 is performing. That’s because many, many more stock funds either directly mimic the S&P 500 or benchmark themselves against that index than the Dow.

Nearly $4.6 trillion in investments directly track the S&P 500, while another $6.65 trillion measure themselves against the index’s performance. That total of $11.24 trillion is roughly 360 times the $31.5 billion in investments that track or benchmark their performance against the Dow.

Tuesday’s rally also pushed the S&P 500 above its record high set on Nov. 16.

WHY PAY ANY ATTENTION TO THE DOW, THEN?

One thing the Dow’s final leap to 30,000 indicates is that it’s no longer just tech stocks driving the market.

Five Big Tech companies — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google’s parent company — alone account for nearly 22% of the S&P 500 by market value. That gives their movements incredible sway over the S&P 500. The Dow doesn’t even include Amazon, Facebook or Google’s parent company.

The dominance of Big Tech early in the market’s recovery is a big reason the S&P 500 returned to its pre-pandemic record in August compared to November for the Dow. More recently, with hopes rising that a vaccine or two may be arriving soon, the stock market’s gains have begun to broaden out.

The Dow is more heavily weighted toward stocks in the financial and industrial industries, which have done better than tech recently after earlier getting walloped by the pandemic.

NEXT STOP IS DOW 40,000, RIGHT?

Many strategists along Wall Street are optimistic that stocks can keep climbing in 2021, mainly because of the prospects for a vaccine. But the market is facing plenty of threats in the near term. Chief among them is the worsening pandemic, which is pushing governments around the world to bring back varying degrees of restrictions on businesses.

Bitter partisanship also means Congress is making little to no progress on delivering more financial support for the economy in the meantime. That sets the stage for a potentially bleak winter for both health and the economy.

So don’t be surprised if the Dow crosses back and forth over the 30,000 threshold a few more times.

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