- US stocks opened mostly higher on Friday, buoyed by optimism over President Joe Biden’s new vaccine pledge.
- Investors’ risk appetite returned as increased vaccine momentum points to a wider economic reopening by the summer.
- Oil prices edged higher following news that it could take weeks to dislodged the container ship blocking the Suez Canal.
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US stocks opened mostly higher on Friday, buoyed by optimism over President Joe Biden’s new goal of administering 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by his 100th day in office, doubling the original goal of 100 million doses.
Thus far, 25.7% or 85 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 14% or 46.3 million have received two doses.
Investors’ risk appetite returned on Friday as a steady vaccine rollout would signal the economy could be on its way to a wider reopening by the summer.
Bank shares also rose on Friday after the Federal Reserve announced that banks can raise dividends and resume share repurchases after June 30.
On Thursday, US stocks closed higher after weekly jobless claims hit 684,000 their lowest levels since the pandemic began last year.
“We will very gradually over time and with great transparency when the economy has all but fully recovered, we will be pulling back the support that we provided during emergency times,” Powell told NPR Thursday.
Here’s where US indexes stood at the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Friday:
- S&P 500: 3,927.06, up 0.45%
- Dow Jones industrial average: 32,761.88, up 0.44% (142.40 points)
- Nasdaq composite: 13,006.21, up 0.2%
Goldman Sachs analysts on Friday said they remain bullish on US stocks, predicting a 10% increase in the S&P 500 from current levels over the next 12 months. The analysts also said they are positive about “procyclical” and non-US stocks, which are poised to benefit from global growth.
Cathie Wood’s ARK Autonomous Technology & Robotics ETF recently bought 800,494 shares in Jaws Spitfire Acquisition Corp, a SPAC backed by tennis champion Serena Williams. Among the fund’s biggest holdings are Tesla, JD.com, Baidu, and Alphabet.
Bitcoin climbed back above the $51,000-level it was on Thursday evening to $53,029. Traders are bracing themselves ahead of the record $6 billion bitcoin options set to expire Friday.
“The expiry data suggests a bullish outlook,” said Pankaj Balani, CEO at Delta Exchange. “Currently, Delta Exchange is seeing bullish price signs for bitcoin and this is based on the March futures pricing.”
Oil prices edged higher, rebounding from Thursday’s fall, following news that it could take weeks for experts to dislodged the massive 220,000-ton container ship blocking the Suez Canal.
JPMorgan’s chief global strategist Marko Kolanovic on Thursday said if this situation is not resolved soon, investors and consumers can expect shipping rates to soar, energy commodities to further increase, and global inflation to continue to rise.
He did add that these risks can be hedged by buying oil and associated equities such as energy and shipping.
The Suez Canal, the second-biggest shipping channel in the world, is a key shipping route for crude and refined products, connecting Europe to Asia and has wreaked havoc on global maritime trade.
West Texas Intermediate crude climbed as much as 2.82%, to $60.21 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, also rose by 2.55%, to $63.53 per barrel. Both benchmarks are on track for weekly losses.
Gold slipped 0.55% to $1,725.12 per ounce.