U.S. Equity Markets rose to end the week, after a fifth consecutive gain. The S&P had its best week since early November, with a rise of 5%. Employment data was the big driver today. The U.S. economy added 47,000 jobs in January, resuming a positive trend after a brief blip in December. And the Unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, beating expectations. This is another positive sign for the economic rebound. It was a relatively quiet day otherwise. There were no new headlines on further stimulus legislation, and Democrats are still prepared to push through a $1.9 trillion package via reconciliation. Vaccine news was also positive. Johnson & Johnson applied for emergency use authorisation, saying that they are ready to provide 100 million doses by the summer. And the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) reportedly began a review of Novavax’s vaccine, potentially adding more supply. European Indices also closed higher. French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the country does not require a new lockdown, despite the fact social-distancing restrictions can’t be eased yet. The British government said it would impose a 10-day quarantine on travelers visiting the country from those designated as COVID-19 hotspots beginning February 15. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it is too soon to ease COVID-19 restrictions, even as the spread of the virus eases. German Factory Orders for December were weaker than expected, but November’s data were revised higher, signalling Europe’s largest economy continues to support the regional outlook. Elsewhere, both Oil and Gold closed higher by 1.32% and 1.12% respectively on Dollar weakness.
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