S&P500 +2.16 (3,585.15); NASDAQ -0.55% (11,829.29); DJIA +4.08% (29,479.81)
This week’s reports
- Equity markets around the world rallied this week after Pfizer Inc. released a large-scale study that showed that its COVID-19 vaccine prevented more than 90% of infections. The prospect of a faster “return to normal” boosted the MSCI All-Country World Index to a record high. Almost every major developed market stock index moved higher.
- US stocks also rallied, with the exception of the Nasdaq Composite Index, which sank under the weight of retreating “lockdown winners”, such as Amazon.com and Netflix. Meanwhile, both the S&P and the Dow Jones Industrial Average notched their second consecutive week of gains, as investors piled into previously underperforming sectors like energy and banks. The S&P 500 rose to a new record on Friday. The upbeat mood in the stock markets was bolstered by a bigger-than-expected drop in claims for unemployment benefits, to their lowest level since March.
- Rising optimism for better economic growth led to pronounced outperformance of value stocks over growth stocks and of small-capitalization companies over large caps. Value stocks and small caps, which have been hard hit by the COVID-19 lockdowns, have significantly underperformed year-to-date.
- European stocks surged more than other developed markets, ending their second week of strong gains, notwithstanding the expectations for a double-dip recession in the EU because of its renewed lockdowns in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
- Emerging market stocks ended the week mixed as vaccine-induced rally eased towards the end of the week on a global surge in Covid-19 infections.
- Chinese stocks fell after President Trump signed an order barring American individuals and firms from investing in companies deemed to support China’s military, intelligence and security services. The list of firms includes large state-run aerospace and construction companies, as well as technology and communications companies. China’s three main telecoms operators were among the hardest hit, with shares of China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom retreating over 5% in Hong Kong trading.