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Stocks climb as virus studies stir recovery hopes: markets wrap

Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1 807.20 an ounce.
Image: Soichiro Koriyama/Bloomberg

Stocks advanced Thursday after the latest coronavirus studies stirred hopes that the global recovery can weather the omicron flareup.

Cyclical sectors such as travel and leisure and autos boosted European shares, while gains in Japan helped MSCI Inc.’s Asia-Pacific gauge rise for a third day. US contracts were steady after the S&P 500 closed in on its record high. Trading volumes thinned in many markets ahead of Christmas.

Investors bets are growing the latest Covid-19 variant won’t derail global growth, even as officials remain cautious about its spread. A trio of studies signaled omicron may be less likely to land patients in hospital than delta, while lab results indicated a third dose of AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine significantly boosted antibodies against the strain. Additionally, Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 pill gained clearance for emergency use in the US.

The dollar and Treasury yields were steady.

“Markets hate uncertainty and not knowing, and when omicron hit the markets, we didn’t know,” Carol Schleif, BMO Family Office deputy chief investment officer, said on Bloomberg Television. “But it seems like it’s edging toward something more positive.”

A gauge of global stocks is up more than 2% so far this month, leaving the index 15% higher for the year and on course to surpass 2020’s gain. Markets, though, have been volatile of late as traders evaluated virus risks, tighter policy to check high inflation and a foggy outlook for the $2 trillion US economic plan.

“Our outlook for the global economy remains positive, but we have preference on developed markets,” Janet Mui, director of investment at Brewin Dolphin Limited, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “The economic recovery will continue in the major economies like the US, UK and the Euro area, thanks to the very high vaccination rates and ongoing rollout of the booster jabs.”

Elsewhere, crude reversed an earlier gain, while Bitcoin slipped toward $48 000. European gas plunged as much as 10% as at least 10 cargoes of US supplies headed to Europe, helping offset lower flows from Russia.

Technology stocks in Hong Kong fell amid a slide in JD.com Inc. on Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s plan to distribute shares in the online retailer as a one-time dividend.

What to watch this week:

  • Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda speaks Thursday
  • US initial jobless claims, personal income, durable goods, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, new home sales on Thursday
  • Friday: US markets are closed. UK markets close earlier

Some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.2% as of 8:20 a.m. London time
  • Futures on the S&P 500 were little changed
  • Futures on the Nasdaq 100 were little changed
  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were little changed
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.8%
  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 0.8%

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed
  • The euro was little changed at $1.1322
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.1% to 114.27 per dollar
  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 6.3758 per dollar
  • The British pound rose 0.2% to $1.3373

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 1.46%
  • Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at -0.29%
  • Britain’s 10-year yield advanced two basis points to 0.90%

Commodities

  • Brent crude fell 0.2% to $75.11 a barrel
  • Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1 807.20 an ounce
© 2021 Bloomberg

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