Wall Street jumps, Treasury yield curve steepens after earnings, Biden assurances

November 14, 2020

NEW YORK (Nov 14) - U.S. stocks were sharply higher and the Treasury yield curve steepened on Friday as upbeat earnings and President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID advisory team helped reassure investors about the threat of new pandemic-related lockdowns to combat record spikes in coronavirus infections.

Encouraging results from Cisco Systems Inc CSCO.O and Walt Disney Co DIS.N helped send Wall Street's three major stock indexes higher.

President-elect Joe Biden solidified his election victory as Arizona’s 11 electoral college votes were added to his column, but the official transition remains in limbo as President Donald Trump persists with his refusal to concede.

Still, Biden’s pandemic advisory board provided a glimpse into the next president’s coronavirus plan, and said there was no plan to enact a nation-wide shutdown.

Economically sensitive cyclicals and small cap stocks, the stars of the rally at the beginning of the week, once again led the charge. On Monday, investor risk appetite was boosted by Pfizer Inc's PFE.N announcement that the COVID-19 vaccine being developed with German partner BioNTech SE BNTX.O appeared to be 90% effective.

The S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow were on track to post their second straight weekly gains, while at current levels the tech-heavy Nasdaq is lower than last Friday’s close.

“Markets are looking at the brighter sky but risk falling into a manhole because short-term, the news on COVID-19 is very worrying with so many states locking down, European-style,” said Thomas Costerg, senior economist at Pictet Wealth in Geneva. “I would caution here that we will have a bumpy road between now and inauguration day because of the coronavirus and softness in U.S. data.”

Indeed, economic data released on Friday showed consumers are growing more pessimistic, while tepid inflation reflects labor market slack and sluggish demand.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 387.47 points, or 1.33%, to 29,467.64, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 41.3 points, or 1.17%, to 3,578.31 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 75.63 points, or 0.65%, to 11,785.22.

European stocks ended flat as rising fears of economic damage from the pandemic offset recent optimism surrounding a vaccine and hopes of calmer global trade under Biden. Still, the benchmark index notched its second straight week of gains.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX rose 0.01% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.67%.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.61%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS closed 0.52% higher, while Japan's Nikkei .N225 lost 0.53%.

U.S. Treasury yields were mixed as investors consolidated positions ahead of the weekend and remained cautious given the surge in coronavirus cases. But the yield curve steepened on Friday, after flattening the previous session.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last fell 2/32 in price to yield 0.893%, from 0.886% late on Thursday.

The 30-year bond US30YT=RR last rose 5/32 in price to yield 1.6455%, from 1.652% late on Thursday.

Crude oil prices slid, pressured by swelling output from Libya and fears that rising COVID infections could slow a recovery of global demand.

U.S. crude dropped 2.41% to settle at $40.13 per barrel, while Brent settled at $42.78 per barrel, down 1.72% on the day.

The dollar was down, but safe-haven yen and Swiss franc currencies strengthened, reflecting a loss of risk appetite driven by vaccine hopes.

The dollar index .DXY fell 0.22%, with the euro up 0.24% to $1.1832.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.49% versus the greenback at 104.62 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3182, up 0.52% on the day.

Gold prices rose as rising global coronavirus infections sparked renewed fears over the pandemic’s economic toll.

Spot gold added 0.5% to $1,884.52 an ounce.


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