A gauge of global shares hit a record for a third straight day while the dollar moved off earlier lows on Wednesday as further positive COVID-19 vaccine news helped temper concerns about rising infection rates and related economic damage.
On Wall Street, Pfizer shares gained 1.50% after the drug-maker said its COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective and the company would apply for emergency US authorisation within days.
Pfizer’s announcement came on the heels of a similar report from Moderna’s on the effectiveness of its vaccine.
While the three major averages held near the unchanged mark, Boeing climbed 0.47% after the US Federal Aviation Administration ended the flight ban on the plane-maker’s 737 MAX jet.
Still, with many major equity indexes at or near record levels, analysts caution additional stimulus measures are needed to buttress the economy until a vaccine can be widely distributed.
“What we are dealing from a virus standpoint is front and center, it is right in our faces, and the vaccine brings a level of optimism that is no doubt positive from a humanity standpoint as well as the markets,” said Keith Buchanan, senior portfolio manager at Globalt in Atlanta.
“But where we go from here to when those vaccinations can actually hit the ground and be considered widespread is causing some concern.”
A report on US home building showed the housing market continues to be a bright spot even as other parts of the economy are showing signs of strain from rising coronavirus cases.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.4 points, or 0.03%, to 29,774.95, the S&P 500 lost 0.98 points, or 0.03%, to 3,608.55 and the Nasdaq Composite added 17.16 points, or 0.14%, to 11,916.50.
After a sluggish start, European shares closed higher as vaccine optimism and a round of takeover deals helped offset concerns over fresh lockdown measures to slow the spread of the virus in the region.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.44% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.18%, touching an intraday record for a third consecutive session.
While the US dollar moved off its earlier lows following the housing data, the greenback was still on pace for its fifth straight decline as the Pfizer news gave investors an appetite for some risk taking.
The dollar index fell 0.153%, with the euro up 0.03% to $1.1865.
The weaker dollar also helped lift the pound, along with hopes Britain will be able to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union before its departure from the EU’s customs union and single market in January. Sterling was last trading at $1.3287, up 0.35% on the day.
Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 4/32 in price to yield 0.8832%, from 0.872% late on Tuesday.
The increased risk appetite on the vaccine news also helped oil prices advance, along with hopes OPEC and its allies will delay a planned increase in oil output.
US crude rose 1.59% to $42.09 per barrel and Brent was at $44.61, up 1.97% on the day.
Safe haven gold meanwhile, dropped 0.3% to $1,872.86 an ounce.