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Vaccine hopes keep stocks ahead

By AFP - Nov 14,2020 - Last updated at Nov 14,2020

LONDON — Most stock markets in the US and Europe ended the week on an upbeat note on Friday as coronavirus vaccine hopes outweighed worries over spiking infections in Europe and the United States, dealers said.

Asian bourses, however, took a hit as traders feared that another wave of Covid-19 lockdown measures will throw a shaky economic recovery off course.

In New York, the Dow Jones index had added 0.8 per cent in midday trades while most European markets were slightly higher at the close of business.

London bucked the trend with the FTSE 100 index off by 0.4 per cent on the back of a stronger pound, which hits share prices of multinational companies that earn vast sums in dollars.

Sterling climbed on growing EU trade deal hopes after reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top advisor and Brexit mastermind Dominic Cummings will leave later this year.

That development "has raised speculation that the balance has tilted a little towards in favour of a deal than no deal," suggested Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst with ThinkMarkets.

'Great progress'

on vaccine

"Equity markets started off in the red this morning but they have been driving higher... and most European indices are in positive territory," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"The pandemic might not have the same negative impact on equities that it used to, seeing as there has been great progress made with respect to the drug that Pfizer and BioNTech are developing."

US pharma giant Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech on Monday revealed that their candidate for a Covid-19 vaccine had been 90 per cent effective.

Other companies working on vaccines were also believed to be close to announcing good news as well.

But Oanda analyst Edward Moya noted that as the week wore on, investors nonetheless reduced "bullish bets as virus lockdown efforts will likely remain in place throughout the holidays".

Trump's China ban

Meanwhile, markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai were hit by news that US President Donald Trump had signed an order banning investments in Chinese firms that could help the country's military and security apparatus.

The executive order, to take effect on January 11, said Beijing obliges private firms to support these activities and through capital markets "exploits United States investors to finance the development and modernisation of its military".

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