U.S. Equity Markets closed lower yesterday, despite strong economic data. The Russell 2000 led the declines, closing lower by 0.78% while the Dow booked the trend, closing at a new all-time high with a gain of 0.29%. Retail Sales rose 5.3% from the month prior, according to data from the Census Bureau. That beat the expectation for a 1.3% gain. January’s Retail Sales also marked the first increase for the data point after three straight months of decline. Vaccine supply may have given an area for concern. The White House’s vaccine czar said that Johnson & Johnson only has a few million doses in its stockpile. That sparked fears that an approval would not provide an immediate boost to the vaccine supply. The Federal Reserve’s Minutes from the January meeting showed that the central bank sees it taking a while before the economy reaches its goals. This suggests that it won’t pull support from the economy anytime soon. European Markets closed lower after a volatile trading session. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the country must use the European Union Recovery Fund in order to boost economic activity. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen discussed ways to boost jobs and growth, pointing toward more coordinated policy efforts. Pfizer and BioNTech agreed to supply the European Union with an additional 200 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the second quarter, boosting supply. European Union coronavirus vaccinations rose to 22.5 million yesterday, with a daily average of 679,000 doses administered over the last week. Elsewhere, Oil continued its relentless move higher closed with a gain of 2%, as cold weather through the Midwest sparked an increase in demand for heat, while Gold fell 1.38% on continued Dollar strength.
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