August 19, 2022
Stocks Hit Record High as Vaccines and Biden Transition Brighten Outlook

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On Wednesday, global shares hit record highs after the Dow Jones reached 30,000, as investors were relieved at the possibility of a smooth transition of power after the presidential elections and confident that a coronavirus vaccine would soon be available. On Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden introduced his national security and foreign policy team after the way was cleared by President Donald Trump for him to make preparations for the beginning of his administration. Markets were also cheered by the possibility of Biden nominating Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve Chair, as the US Treasury Secretary, as this would ease the introduction of a fiscal stimulus package for countering the economic damage caused by the coronavirus.

MSCI’s broadest index of world stocks were pushed to a record high due to the renewed demand of shares, as they reached 622.12. The index had been up by 0.1%. The same trend was seen in the European STOXX 600, which rose by 0.1% in early trading to reach nine-month highs, as banking stocks rose and then fell once again. As far as the Asian markets are concerned, Japan’s Nikkei 225 also climbed to reach a 29-year high. There was a 0.2% slump in the MSCI’s Asia-Pacific shares index, outside of Japan, as worries over increasing debt defaults had an impact on Chinese shares.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial average surpassed 30,000 for the very first time and there was a 0.2% increase in S&P 500 futures. Market strategists said that equity markets were betting on the fact that the world would look a lot better this time in 2021, as there has been a dramatic change in the outlook in the previous month. As per the improved outlook, investors are expecting that industries that suffered the most because of the pandemic, from energy to tourism, would benefit from the forthcoming virus vaccines. 

So far, there has been an increase of 34% in global energy shares and they are on the path to their best month, as there is a rally in crude prices. The improved economic outlook globally helped oil prices hit their highest since March. There was a 1.3% increase in Brent futures as well, which helped them touch a high that had been seen last in March. The bond markets also saw the same risk-on moves play out. There was an increase in yields on the euro zone debt. German Bund yields were also trading at their highest levels in a week. 

There was also pressure on US Treasuries, as investors bet that there would be an increase in debt because of any fiscal aid package. Riskier currencies also rose, as opposed to safe-havens like the US dollar. The dollar fell by 0.1% against a basket of other major currencies, after it had declined by 0.4% on Tuesday. The Australian dollar reached its highest from early September, as it had already seen a boost with investors unwinding their bets over further monetary easing. The yen, another safe-haven remained little changed. 


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