It's all eyes on US non-farm payrolls later, but the UK index has smashed through 6,500 in early deals.
Investors remain absorbed in evaluating the gap between the problems of today versus the solutions of tomorrow.
Some of the earlier market gains were eroded as it was announced that the Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)/BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) vaccine was only likely to deliver 50 million doses this year, as opposed to a previously reported 100 million, due to a delay in scaling up the supply chain. The current challenges were further highlighted as the US reported a record number of Covid-19 daily deaths, with the possibility of a full lockdown in California adding to general pandemic concerns.
The present state of the US employment situation will be updated later, with the release of the non-farm payroll figures. The consensus is that 470,000 jobs will have been added in November, compared to the previous month’s figure of 638,000, although the unemployment rate is expected to improve marginally from 6.9% to 6.8%.
Both of these developments will focus the collective political mind for further fiscal stimulus to boost economic repair in the US, with investors still hopeful of a deal of some description before the year is out.
Meanwhile, the indices were flat to slightly positive, with the Dow Jones remaining ahead by 5% in the year to date and the S&P 500 by 13.5%. Some further buying interest nudged the technology-laden Nasdaq to another record closing high, with the index now standing 38% ahead this year.
Sterling’s recent relative strength has been underpinned by hopes that a deal will be reached in negotiations between the UK and the EU, notwithstanding the current political grandstanding and with time quickly running out. This in turn has limited some of the FTSE 100’s recent gains, given the large exposure of the index to overseas earnings.
Even so, news of the UK’s approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been generally positive for sentiment in a week which has seen the FTSE makes some progress, although it still remains down by 13.5% in the year to date.
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