Stocks Edge Back Toward Record Highs; Oil Rallies: Markets Wrap

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(Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks pushed toward all-time highs as investors await signs that Washington is moving forward with a spending bill. Oil futures rallied, while yields on benchmark Treasury notes edged higher.

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The S&P 500 pushed into the green ahead of a three-day weekend. The index has ended three straight days within 0.2% of its prior close after a rally Monday. Expedia Group Inc. fell after reporting results that missed expectations. European stocks turned positive after opening lower.

After touching records, markets had struggled to extend the rally among mixed signals and a lack of fresh catalysts. Even as vaccines are distributed to millions, the emergence of new virus variants threaten to extend lockdowns and delay economic recoveries. House Democrats made progress on the spending bill, approving $1,400 checks to most Americans. The Senate remained occupied by former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

“Largely moving sideways is a reflection of the fact that we’ve had some pretty significant volatility in the two weeks preceding that and now we’re waiting for some of the current catalysts to manifest themselves — so when and how large will stimulus be?” said Arthur Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities Corp.

© Bloomberg U.S. equity volumes approach peak seen during pandemic crash

Despite losses on Friday, global stock markets are still on track for a weekly advance, with the MSCI World up 1.4% in the past five days. The S&P 500 has gained 0.9% in the period.

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Part of the reason behind the rally is that investors believe President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 relief package will deliver plenty of aid to the U.S. economy. On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced legislation that would provide $593.5 billion in benefits, most of which is made up of $1,400 stimulus payments.

At the same time, the vaccine rollout is making progress. Biden announced on Thursday that the U.S. has finished deals for 100 million additional vaccine doses each from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 Index increased 0.2% to 3,922.48 as of 11:58 a.m. New York time.
The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.1% to 14,045.38.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed at 31,422.69.
The MSCI All-Country World Index gained 0.2% to 681.17, reaching the highest on record with its 10th straight advance.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed at 1,123.17, the first advance in more than a week.
The euro was little changed at $1.2126, the biggest fall in more than a week.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.2% to 104.94 per dollar, the largest fall in more than a week.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points to 1.19%, the highest in 11 months.
Germany’s 10-year yield jumped three basis points to -0.43%, the highest in more than five months on the largest surge in more than three weeks.
Britain’s 10-year yield gained five basis points to 0.517%, the highest in about 11 months on the biggest advance in more than a week.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude jumped 2.2% to $59.52 a barrel, the highest in more than two years on the largest surge in more than a week.
Gold was little changed at $1,825.37 an ounce, the weakest in a week.

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