U.S. Equity Markets opened at new all-time highs before having a small sell-off into the close. Although the Dow closed 0.20% higher, both the S&P and NASDAQ closed with small losses. All eyes are on stimulus and vaccine news. With former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial over, Democrats can now turn to pursuing President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. Biden was said to be readying a speech to pitch his plan directly to voters. On the vaccine front, Moderna said that it would deliver 100 million additional doses by the middle of May. That is earlier than its previous forecast, supporting the case for increased vaccine supply. In terms of economic data, the New York Federal Reserve Empire Manufacturing Index rose to a seven-month high on increases in orders and inventories. The NAHB Housing Market Index fell just short of estimates, but remained within touching distance of an all-time high. These are good signs for economic strength. European Markets closed mixed. Former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was sworn in as Italy’s new Prime Minister, stressing the need for unity and putting Italy’s interests ahead of party allegiance. European Union Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said it will fast track approval of COVID-19 vaccine updates intended to fight new variants. German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann warned the country’s inflation rate could hit 3% this year, creating the need for interest rate hikes. European Union coronavirus vaccinations rose to 21.8 million yesterday, with a daily average of 657,000 doses administered during the last week. Elsewhere, Oil closed 1.23% higher, rising to a 13-month high as cold weather through the Midwest sparked an increase in demand for heat, while Gold fell 1.50% on U.S Dollar strength.
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