Stocks Receive a Boost From Another Round of Vaccine News…..

U.S. stocks closed higher to kick off the holiday-shortened week, as encouraging news on the vaccine and treatment front again provided the boost. The positive sentiment was bolstered as Astrazeneca delivered mostly upbeat results from a trial of its vaccine that it developed with the University of Oxford and Regeneron received Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA for its virus antibody therapy. The strong news comes as global markets continued to wrestle with the economic impacts brought about by reinstated lockdowns, as the virus continues to surge across the U.S. and Europe. Treasury yields traded higher as bond prices slid, and the U.S. dollar reversed to the upside as the economic calendar showed November manufacturing and services sector growth unexpectedly accelerated. Gold dropped and crude oil prices traded higher. Asia finished higher, though Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. Europe traded lower following divergent manufacturing and services sector reports in the region.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 328 points (1.1%) to 29,591, the S&P 500 Index was up 20 points (0.6%) at 3,578, and the Nasdaq Composite increased 26 points (0.2%) to 11,881. In moderate volume, 981 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 3.7 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil traded $0.64 higher at $43.06 per barrel and wholesale gasoline added $0.03 to $1.20 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price was down $34.64 at $1,836.35 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—ticked 0.1% higher to 92.53.

November business activity growth accelerates unexpectedly to begin the shortened week…..

The preliminary Markit U.S. Manufacturing PMI Index for November surprisingly increased to 56.7 from October’s unrevised 53.4 figure, unexpectedly moving further into expansion territory denoted by a reading above 50. The Bloomberg consensus estimate called for the index to dip to 53.0. The preliminary Markit U.S. Services PMI Index showed output for the key U.S. sector also unexpectedly accelerated, rising to 57.7 from October’s 56.9 figure, and compared to forecasts of a decline to 55.0. A reading above 50 denotes expansion.

Markit said the overall expansion was the fastest in over five-and-a-half years, as both manufacturers and service providers indicated a steeper upturn in output. The month also saw a survey record rise in employment and an unprecedented increase in prices, the latter in part linked to a record incidence of supply chain delays.

Treasuries lost ground with the yield on the 2-year note adding 1 basis point (bp) to 0.16%, while the yields on the 10-year note and 30-year bond rose 3 bps to 0.85% and 1.55%, respectively.

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