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Markets

Stocks fall, dollar rises as concerns remain over stimulus talks

  • S&P 500 down in afternoon NY trade.
  • Brexit, virus worries weigh on European shares.
  • Sterling lower as no trade deal on Brexit likely.
  • Dollar gets boost as risk sentiment sours.
Published December 12, 2020
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NEW YORK: Global stock indexes eased and the dollar rose on Friday amid continued concerns over the timing of more US economic stimulus.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were lower in afternoon New York trading, while the Dow was near flat.

Rising coronavirus deaths are causing fresh business restrictions in many US states and increasing layoffs, making investors anxious to hear whether more fiscal relief is coming.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday raised the possibility of stimulus negotiations dragging on through Christmas.

"Investors are wondering what is it that Congress needs to hear before they decide to act ... their focus is more on politics than it is on the American economy," said CFRA Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall.

The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue an emergency use authorization for Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine later in the day, the New York Times reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 12.34 points, or 0.04%, to 29,986.92, the S&P 500 lost 16.69 points, or 0.46%, to 3,651.41 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 80.57 points, or 0.65%, to 12,325.24.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed down 0.8% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.40%.

Still, recent US initial public offerings suggested investors were generally upbeat on equities, even as jobs data pointed to US economic weakness.

The dollar index rose 0.2%.

Sterling slipped as bets on further volatility in the currency grew as a disorderly Brexit appeared more likely. Sterling was last trading at $1.3218, down 0.56% on the day.

Britain is likely to complete its journey out of the European Union in three weeks without a trade deal, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.

Morgan Stanley said it expects London's FTSE 250 index to drop 6%-10% if London and Brussels fail to agree a trade deal, with insurance, real estate and homebuilding stocks also at risk.

US Treasury yields were lower across maturities as complications in negotiations over a US fiscal stimulus deal increased demand for the safe-haven securities.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 5/32 in price to yield 0.8915%, from 0.908% late on Thursday.

Oil prices were lower, while spot gold prices were higher.

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