U.S. Equity Markets reversed early afternoon losses before ripping higher into the close, led by the Dow which ended the day with a gain of 0.62%, having rallied over 550 points of its 32070 low print. Markets fell in the morning before recovering throughout the rest of the day. The vaccine news from AstraZeneca drove the initial sell-off. The news of lower efficacy data calls into question whether AstraZeneca’s releases can be trusted, likely extending the time before an emergency use authorisation (EUA) will be approved. Economic data were positive, however. Initial Jobless Claims fell more than expected. And Continuing Claims, which represent those that have filed for unemployment for at least two weeks, were 3.87 million versus the expectation for 4 million and 4.13 million in the week prior. Both of these data points signal strength in the labour market’s recovery. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell also continued his packed speaking schedule. In an interview with NPR, Powell said that any changes to policy will come gradually and with advance notice from the central bank. On inflation, Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said that inflation could run above 2% in both 2022 and 2023. These comments likely spurred some rotation into value, leading to tech’s underperformance. European Markets closed lower. European Central Bank Governing Council Member Francois Villeroy de Galhau said there’s little risk of inflation overheating and that financing conditions will remain favorable. Belgium’s government announced new coronavirus related social-distancing restrictions, closing schools, non-essential businesses, and hair salons for the next four weeks. AstraZeneca lowered the efficacy of its vaccine from 79% to 76% in U.S. trials after scrutiny from American health officials. There were also concerns surrounding the ship blocking the Suez Canal, which reportedly could take weeks to move. Given how much trade goes through the canal (about 10% of global trade), this could be a short-term economic headwind. Elsewhere, Oil fell 4.38% after yesterday’s large move higher, while Bitcoin closed 4.41% lower as billionaire investor Ray Dalio said there was a good possibility that the U.S. government outlaws bitcoin.
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