The Trump administration threatens to blacklist up to 80 additional Chinese companies
US stocks closed at fresh record highs overnight, as investors continued to hope for legislators to agree on new aid to replace unemployment benefits that are expiring. Meanwhile, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose to 885,000 last week, the highest level since September. Despite a weak report, the major indexes extended the rally, with real estate, materials, and health care being the best-performing sectors. The S&P 500 rose 0.58%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5%, and the Nasdaq added 0.84%.
Asian stocks were lower on Friday as investor sentiment turned sour after the Trump administration threatened to blacklist up to 80 additional Chinese companies in the ongoing trade war between the world’s two largest economies. As a result, the Nikkei 225 n Tokyo lost 0.16% while the Shanghai Composite Index edged lower 0.20%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.7%, Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.20% while the Kospi in Seoul bucked the trend, adding 0.2%.
In Europe, equities opened mixed, as risk kept more tepid ahead of the weekend. Investor sentiment was hurt by the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said Thursday that a deal is unlikely unless the EU is willing to alter its position on fisheries. On the positive side, an influential U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel approved Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. So, the distribution of the second vaccine in the United States could start as early as next week.
Meanwhile, the dollar is trading a touch higher across the board on Friday but off earlier highs registered in Asia. EURUSD derived support from the 1.2240 area earlier in the day and managed to trim intraday losses, staying close to long-term highs. USDJPY bounced from March lows below 103.00 but encountered resistance in the 103.60 area and retreated marginally in recent trading.