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US vote result helps stocks push higher



European and US stock markets pushed higher on Wednesday, with London jumping by almost 3.1 percent, on apparent wins by Democrats that should help incoming US President Joe Biden enact his economic plans.

In the US state of Georgia, two Democratic candidates claimed victory in runoff elections that could give the party control of both houses of Congress and make it easier for Biden to enact campaign pledges on spending to boost the recovery of the US economy.

In a swift reaction the yield, or rate of return for investors, on 10-year US Treasury debt rose above 1.0 percent for the first time in nine months, analyst Neil Wilson noted.

Russ Mould, an analyst at AJ Bell, told AFP that would help banks’ profit margins, and added that wins by both Democratic candidates would imply “more support to the US economy, the biggest economy and engine of the world economy.”

The Dow Jones index was 0.8 percent stronger in early New York trading.

The dollar was higher against the pound and yen.

Dealers believe a major win by the Democrats will pave the way for additional fiscal stimulus, although some fear that could lead to higher inflation and interest rates.

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin briefly hit a record of $35,841 on booming investor demand, though it later eased back to around $34,700.

Oil prices continued to rise modestly on news that Saudi Arabia could cut its output by a million barrels by the end of March.

The Saudi announcement on Tuesday sent the US benchmark WTI above $50 a barrel for the first time in 11 months, and drove up shares in oil majors such as BP and Shell.

Oil traders are nonetheless concerned about global demand, given that new coronavirus-related lockdowns which could last months in some countries, were likely to stunt travel again.

A surge in Covid cases globally has forced several governments to reimpose lockdowns and other strict containment measures.

Analysts said that while new restrictions, infection spikes and stumbling vaccine distribution in some countries were jangling dealers’ nerves, they were looking ahead to the second half of the year.

“Markets will remain focused on the end of the tunnel, regardless of its length,” remarked Axi strategist Stephen Innes.


Key figures around 1500 GMT

London – FTSE 100: UP 3.2 percent at 6,823.94 points

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 1.1 percent at 13,799.65

Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.0 percent at 5,619.18

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.3 percent at 3,594.66

New York – Dow: UP 0.8 percent at 30,648.18

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 27,055.94 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.2 percent at 27,692.30 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 3,550.88 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2308 from $1.2294 at 2150 GMT

Dollar/yen: UP at 103.23 yen from 102.72 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3578 from $1.3622

Euro/pound: UP at 90.65 pence from 90.23 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.1 percent at $49.99 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.6 percent at $53.90 per barrel