Stocks steady as Trump is impeached for second time
NEW YORK – World markets were steady Wednesday as investors took in the latest dreary indicators on Covid-19 and monitored congressional debate over the second impeachment of US President Donald Trump.
Investors largely shrugged off the happenings in Washington, where Trump was impeached for the second time in a House vote that finished after the market closed.
US indices finished little changed and remained near all-time highs as investors bet on an improving 2021 economy in anticipation of more US stimulus once Joe Biden is inaugurated as president.
“The market isn’t too worries about politics right now,” said Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeschaert Financial Services. “The page on Donald Trump’s presidency is turning, even if there is still controversy over him.”
Earlier, equity markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt also ended largely flat as both the United States and Britain suffered their worst days of the pandemic as far as fatalities, while Spain registered a record number of new Covid-19 cases.
Global infections soared past 91 million and deaths neared the two million mark, compelling governments around the world to reimpose restrictions such as unpopular and economically painful lockdowns.
Despite the grim figures, markets have largely been looking past the crisis as more people are vaccinated and additional vaccines progress towards approval.
More than 10 million people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the United States, official data showed Wednesday, even as the country remains behind its immunization targets.
In London, the British pound rallied as high as $1.3701, close to a 2.5-year peak, after Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey distanced himself from the idea of negative interest rates — but he still warned Britain faced its “darkest hour” due to the virus fallout.
The Bank of England last year slashed its key interest rate to a record-low 0.1 percent as it sought to counter the impact from the coronavirus pandemic, causing speculation it could even move into negative territory.
Among individual companies, shares of Intel surged seven percent as the chipmaker named VMware head Pat Gelsinger as its new chief executive, replacing Bob Swan after pressure from activist investors. VMware fell 6.8 percent.
Key figures around 2220 GMT
New York – Dow: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 31,060.47 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 0.2 percent at 3,809.84 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.4 percent at 13,128.95 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 6,745.52 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.1 percent at 13,939.71 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,662.67 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,616.51 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 28,456.59 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 28,235.60 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,598.65 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2159 from $1.2207 at 220020 GMT
Dollar/yen: UP at 103.82 from 103.76 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3637 from $1.3664
Euro/pound: DOWN at 89.15 pence from 89.33 pence
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.6 percent at $52.91 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.9 percent at $56.06 per barrel