Global markets will be closed on New Year’s Day Friday
US stocks closed higher on Wednesday, keeping the major stock indexes on Wall Street at or near record highs. According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, $600 stimulus checks were set to be deposited into millions of Americans bank accounts later this week. The payments could be increased to $2,000 if the Senate takes up the vote and passes a measure from the House. As a result, the S&P 500 index rose 0.1%, the Dow gained 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite picked up 0.2%.
Asian stock markets were mixed ahead of the New Year’s holidays on Thursday. MSCI’s gauge of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan rose 0.17% in thin year-end trading. In the fourth quarter, the index gained nearly 20%, its strongest three-month performance since 2009. Australia’s S&P/ASX fell 1.43%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite gained 1.72%. Trading was closed in Tokyo and South Korea. Global markets will be closed on New Year’s Day Friday.
In Europe, equities retreated on Thursday on the last trading day of the year, as news that the United States had raised tariffs on some EU products dampened investor sentiment. Trading volumes were thin, and major European bourses closed. The German DAX ended 2020 with a 3.5% gain on Wednesday and just below all-time highs. In 2020, the pan-European STOXX 600 recorded a 3.8% drop.
As for currencies, the dollar stayed under pressure across the board on Thursday. GBPUSD climbed to 1.3670, scaling higher for the third consecutive session amid the passage of the Brexit deal into law. Besides, the risk-on mood continues to undermine the safe-haven USD and remains supportive for high-yielding currencies. As such, the cable jumped further beyond mid-1.3600s, to fresh 31-month tops, and could extend the rally in 2021 as Brexit-related uncertainty was finally resolved.