US stocks hit an all-time high on the last trading day of the year amid weak trading. The dollar has advanced.
The S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average turned positive in the afternoon and hit all-time highs. Volume was about 15% below average on the S&P. Financial firms have been among the best performers, while energy producers have fallen. European equities plunged. Markets in Japan, Germany and South Korea were closed for New Year’s Eve.
In Asia, China’s benchmark CSI 300 closed at a five-year high as authorities gave the green light to its first consumer-use coronavirus vaccine and data showed a steady economic recovery. The offshore yuan strengthened to its highest level since June 2018.
The S&P 500 ended the year up more than 16%, leaving stocks at high valuations as expectations that widespread vaccine distribution in 2021, central bank support and government aid will revive the economic growth and boost corporate profits. The gains have been global, with the MSCI World Equity Index reaching an all-time high after rising 14% in 2020.
“Investors breathe a sigh of relief that some stimulus are emerging,” said Chris Gaffney, president of global markets at TIAA Bank. “This year has been unprecedented, and I think some of the risks we entered 2020 with, we are leaving without those risks.”
Although the S&P 500 volume was moderate Thursday compared to this year’s norm, it would have felt like an active day in 2019. Last year, an average of 7 billion shares changed hands per day on American stock exchanges. This year, a typical day has seen 10.8 billion shares trade.
In a gloomy stock market environment this week, the cryptocurrency frenzy shows no signs of abating. Bitcoin topped $ 29,000 on Thursday before pulling out. Digital assets rose around 50% in December for the biggest monthly jump since May 2019.
On the coronavirus front, global deaths from Covid-19 have exceeded 1.8 million. New York State and Florida both broke their previous daily case records. California became the third state to kill 25,000, after New York and Texas. Governments around the world have urged people to celebrate the New Year at home.
“You’ve seen kind of a perfectly shaky few days after what I think we can all agree was a good year,” said Giorgio Caputo, senior fund manager at JO Hambro Capital Management. “He gave market participants a holiday gift.”
Here are the main movements in the markets:
- The S&P 500 Index rose 0.6% at 4 p.m. in New York.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.3%.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed.
- The MSCI Emerging Market index rose 0.1%.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1%.
- The euro fell 0.7% to $ 1.2213.
- The British pound rose 0.3% to $ 1.3663.
- The Japanese yen fell 0.1% to 103.27 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell one basis point to 0.91%.
- Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at -0.575%.
- Britain’s 10-year yield fell two basis points to 0.19%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed at $ 48.42 per barrel.
- Gold rose 0.2% to $ 1,898.50 an ounce.
– With the help of Andreea Papuc, Anchalee Worrachate and Claire Ballentine