Stocks Slip Near Record Highs; Crude Oil Declines: Markets Wrap

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(Bloomberg) — The global stock rally stalled in subdued trading at the end of a week that notched new records. Oil futures fell for a second day, while the dollar rose for the first day in five.

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European stocks fluctuated, with travel and mining shares dropping the most, while media stocks advanced. In the U.S., Treasuries edged up and S&P 500 futures dipped after the benchmark closed at an all-time high on Thursday. Most markets in Asia were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

After touching records, markets are pausing 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.

“Investor exuberance has somewhat waned,” according to Lewis Grant, a senior equities portfolio manager at Federated Hermes. “The calm belies an underlying uncertainty as investors await a clearer signal on the efficacy of vaccines before committing fully to the reflation trade.”

© 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 1.1% in the past five days.

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.

Elsewhere in markets, Bitcoin traded near a record. In European stocks, ING Groep NV gained 4.8% on better-than-expected earnings and as it signaled possible buybacks. L’Oreal SA also advanced after reporting an increase on sales in the fourth quarter.

Shares in British Airways owner IAG SA and EasyJet Plc slumped with Britons encouraged to put summer holidays on hold.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

Futures on the S&P 500 Index sank 0.3% as of 11:26 a.m. London time.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.1%.The MSCI Emerging Market Index dipped 0.1%.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%.The euro fell 0.2% to $1.2102.The British pound sank 0.3% to $1.3781.The onshore yuan weakened 0.4% to 6.458 per dollar.The Japanese yen weakened 0.3% to 105.05 per dollar.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell one basis point to 1.15%.The yield on two-year Treasuries decreased less than one basis point to 0.11%.Germany’s 10-year yield dipped less than one basis point to -0.46%.Japan’s 10-year yield sank two basis points to 0.068%.Britain’s 10-year yield declined one basis point to 0.464%.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude sank 0.9% to $57.74 a barrel.Brent crude sank 0.7% to $60.70 a barrel.Gold weakened 0.4% to $1,819.05 an ounce.

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