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Asian Stocks Mixed Amid Unease About Vaccine Development

Asian Stocks Mixed Amid Unease About Vaccine Development

Asian stock markets were mixed Friday as questions about the effectiveness of one possible coronavirus vaccine weighed on investor optimism.

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 is closing a shortened session at a record high Friday as investors continue to look forward to the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine and relief for the economy. The benchmark index rose 0.2%, led by gains in technology companies, and closed at an all-time high of 3,638. Optimism about a vaccine persists even as one vaccine candidate suffered a setback and cases of coronavirus remain at elevated levels. Meanwhile, retailers were hoping that their slumping sales get a boost from shoppers on Black Friday but early indications are that store traffic was light. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 0.85%.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: APs earlier story appears below

Stocks rose on Wall Street Friday during a shortened trading session, led by gains in technology companies.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% and is on track for its third weekly gain in the past four weeks. Investors have been encouraged by progress in getting a coronavirus vaccine approved and distributed and hopefully halting the coronavirus pandemics grip on the global economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which earlier this week crossed 30,000 for the first time, rose 28 points, or 0.1%, to 29,900 as of 11:50 a.m. eastern. The Nasdaq, which has a heavy weighting of technology stocks, gained 103, or 0.9%, to 12,198. The S&P 500 rose 6 points, or 0.2%, to 3,636.

U.S. markets close at 1 p.m. Eastern after being shut for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The major indexes have shown double-digit growth so far this month, with the S&P 500 posting a gain of 11.2%. Investors are looking forward to a possible vaccine to control the pandemic that plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s. Pfizer and Moderna have released results showing their vaccines proved highly effective against COVID-19 in testing.

The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca also this week released positive test results about their vaccine. But researchers have questioned how Oxford and AstraZeneca calculated the effectiveness of their vaccine. The AstraZeneca CEO told Bloomberg News the company might conduct another trial.

AstraZeneca shares fell 0.8% in midday trading, while Pfizer shares rose 1.8% and Moderna shares jumped 15.4%. Pfizers vaccine could begin distribution next month if approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The vaccine news has offset concerns about spiking coronavirus cases in the U.S. and other parts of the world. U.S. states and European governments are re-imposing controls on business and travel as infection rates surge.

The disease has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide and there are 61 million confirmed cases, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.

The pandemic has brought significant changes to the traditional Black Friday shopping holiday. Many retailers are beefing up their safety protocols, moving their doorbuster deals online and curbside pickup options as a last grasp at sales before the year ends.

Retailers need a boost from Black Friday and holiday shopping altogether to try and recoup sales lost to the pandemic. Early indications are that people are staying home and choosing to do any shopping online.

Macy’s shares fell 1.6% while shares of Walmart showed a slight decline. Shares of the online marketplace Etsy, meanwhile, rose 8.1%.

Tech shares led the gainers. Adobe rose 2% and Intel each added 1.7%.

European markets were higher. Germany’s DAX gained 0.4% and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.6%. Asia markets also rose Friday. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 0.8%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 0.85% from 0.87% Wednesday.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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