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Profit-taking nips at heels of record run

December 29, 2020: Profit-taking set in Tuesday on both sides of the Atlantic as stocks had a run in record territory fuelled by US stimulus and the Brexit deal.

Wall Street's leading indices pushed further into previously uncharted highs during trading on Tuesday, but by late morning the gains had disappeared.

Investor sentiment had been given another shot in the arm on Monday after US President Donald Trump signed a $900-billion (735-billion-euro) Covid-19 economic stimulus bill late on Sunday, setting up a trifecta of record closes.

Trump had held off signing the US virus stimulus package for almost a week, saying it did not provide enough cash to Americans and calling for handouts to be jacked up to $2,000 from the $600 offered in the initial bill.

Democrats agreed more was needed and on Monday the House of Representatives approved a motion to increase the payments. It was unclear if the Senate will move to vote on the measure.

“Even if the effort for bigger checks fails now, the goal posts have been moved and the Biden administration will have a better chance of passing additional stimulus once he is inaugurated,” said OANDA market analyst Edward Moya.

Frankfurt's DAX index also powered its way Tuesday to new heights, but it ended the day down 0.2 percent.

– Brexit deal helps markets –

Meanwhile, London stocks surged with investors relieved over Britain's long-awaited Brexit deal with the EU, with the British capital's benchmark FTSE 100 index jumping 1.6 percent.

Britain and the European Union finally struck a trade deal Thursday to cushion the economic blow of Brexit, in a major boost to Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The pound climbed against the dollar and the euro, as dealers continued to digest the 1,246-page agreement document.

“The Brexit deal is really a blessing… for the UK and for the FTSE 100 index. There is no doubt that the FTSE 100 has been a laggard index and now is its time to shine,” AvaTrade analyst Naeem Aslam told AFP.

He added: “European stocks are still very much in Santa rally mode and traders only want to push stocks higher because they know that there is enough tailwind for the stock market in 2021.”

The EU gave the green light to the deal on Monday, paving the way for it to come into effect in the New Year. Britain's parliament will seek to ratify it this week.

“Markets seem to be welcoming the Brexit deal,” noted AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

“However, the agreement struck between London and Brussels is yet to win universal acclaim — even if that is the inevitable result of the compromises that the Prime Minister had to make to get the deal over the line.”

Elsewhere, Asian markets mostly rose Tuesday following a record-breaking lead from Wall Street, as investors cheered the passage of a huge US stimulus bill which has helped temper fears about surging coronavirus infections.

Asia also scored new pinnacles, with Tokyo soaring 2.7 percent to end at a 30-year high.

European nations meanwhile continue to ramp up vaccinations, adding to optimism of a route out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet governments around the world have been forced to impose lockdowns and other strict, economically painful measures to contain surging Covid-19 cases.

– Key figures around 1630 GMT –

  • London – FTSE 100: UP 1.6 percent at 6,602.65 points (close)
  • Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 13,761.38 (close)
  • Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,611.79 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,583.45
  • New York – Dow: FLAT at 30,400.85
  • Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 2.7 percent at 27,568.15 (close)
  • Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.0 percent at 26,568.49 (close)
  • Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,379.04 (close)
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3509 from $1.3452 at 2200 GMT
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.66 pence from 90.81 pence
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2248 from $1.2216
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 103.51 yen from 103.81 yen
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.2 percent at $48.17 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.1 percent at $51.40

AFP/APP

Posted on: 2020-12-30T00:00:00+05:00

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