On Friday, global shares bounced while safe havens, such as the U.S. dollar, were on the defensive, as investors welcome the news of Pfizer Inc, the drug maker, possibly have a coronavirus vaccine ready by the end of the year in the United States. However, German bond-yields remained near lows of seven months and oil prices were still under pressure because of concerns that the already teetering recovery in the global economy could be dampened by the resurgence in the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and Europe. Indeed, by the end of Friday, two of the three major stock indexes in the U.S. had already pared earlier gains.
There was a 0.4% gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is about 112 points and so it reached 28,606.31. The S&P 500 mostly remained unchanged at 3,483.81. The Nasdaq composite, on the other hand, made some losses as it was down by 0.4% or 42 points to settle at 11,671.56. There was a 3.8% price jump in shares of Pfizer and the stock made the biggest contribution to the gains in the S&P 500 index on Friday. According to the U.S. drugmaker, it could end up filing for authorization in the U.S. for the COVID-19 vaccine at the end of November.
The company is developing this vaccine with BioNTech, the German company. With the global race for developing a vaccine for the coronavirus heats up, financial markets have kept track of every twist and turn. They are hoping that a successful deployment of such a vaccine would help the world economy move towards a sustained rebound after it had to shut down in Spring. According to some analysts, investors are no longer focusing on the ups and downs in the near-term regarding vaccine development and are now focusing on a possible turnaround in 2021.
This cautious optimism also worked in favor of European shares. There was a 1.3% jump in the pan-European STOXX 600, while shares in Paris, Frankfurt, and London all grew between 1.5% and 2%. However, European shares have been lagging behind their Asian and U.S. shares for the year. So far, there has been a 12% decline in the pan-European STOXX 600, as opposed to again in the S&P 500 of 8.3% and in MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares other than Japan of 5%. Some modest gains were also made by Asian shares on Friday, even though there were slim declines in Japan and China.
There was a 0.3% increase in the MSCI share index whereas a 0.4% decline was reported by Japan’s Nikkei. There was a 0.2% decline in Chinese stocks, but the main stock index was high for the third week consecutively. The U.S. dollar took a blow due to the improved mood and risk appetite on the trading floors, which is usually regarded as a safe-haven asset. There was a 0.1% decline in the dollar as it reached 93.700 against a basket of six currencies. The euro gained some ground due to the softer dollar, with the currency climbing by 0.2%.