(Boursier.com) – The New York Stock Exchange signed its third consecutive session on Thursday, the S&P 500 index even ending on a new record, on the eve of a three-day weekend, Wall Street being closed Friday due to Christmas. Investors were relieved by the reassuring news about the Omicron variant, and hailed improving US consumer sentiment in December, despite high inflation.
At the close, the Dow jones rose 0.55% to 35,950 points, while the broad index S&P 500 gained 0.62% to 4,725 pts, erasing its December 10 record at 4,712 pts. the Nasdaq Composite, rich in technological and biotech stocks, rose 0.85% to 15.653 pts.
Over the week, the three indices rebounded by 1.6%, 2.3% and 3.2% respectively. The previous week they had fallen 1.7%, 1.9% and 2.9%.
Note that Christmas being celebrated this year on a Saturday, the New York Stock Exchange will be exceptionally closed this Friday, December 24. On the other hand, it will be open normally on Friday December 31 and Monday January 3: operators will therefore be deprived of a holiday for the New Year, by virtue of a little-known article of the American stock market regulations …
Gold at its highest for 5 weeks, US inflation at its highest since 1982
Oil rose Thursday night as a barrel of US light crude WTI gaining 1.4% to $ 73.79 (February Nymex futures contract), while the Brent de Mer du Nord jumped 2.07% to $ 76.85 (March contract). With no quotes scheduled for Friday on the Nymex, due to Christmas, WTI has regained 4% for the week as a whole, and has climbed more than 50% since the start of 2021, supported by the resumption of the global demand, after the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Gold gained 0.5% Thursday night to $ 1,811.70 an ounce on Comex (February contract), returning to a 5-week high. the bitcoin advanced at the end of the evening by 3.6% over 24 hours, around $ 50,842, according to the site Coindesk.
Few changes were reported in the forex market, where the dollar index yielded 0.02% to 96.06 pts against a basket of currencies, while the euro gained 0.02% to $ 1.1326. On the bond markets, yields rose, that of the T-Bond at 10 years gaining in particular 3 basis points at 1.49%.
This session was marked by the publication of a battery of macroeconomic indicators, including the personal income and expenditure of American households in November, as well as the inflation index. “core PCE”.
However, this measure of inflation, most closely followed by the Federal Reserve, jumped 4.7% in November, the highest since 1982. Economists expected a slightly smaller increase, of 4.5%, but this new surge did not panic operators … They preferred to focus on the good news regarding the lower virulence of the Omicron variant, according to several British and South African studies.
US consumer sentiment is rebounding despite inflation
US household incomes appreciated 0.4% in November compared to October, against 0.5% consensus, while spending increased as expected by 0.6% on a month-to-month basis. Markets appreciated the fact that the final consumer sentiment index stood at 70.6 in December, against a market consensus of 70.4 and after 70.4 on an initial reading, according to the University of Michigan.
Another encouraging sign for growth, durable goods orders rose more than expected, 2.5% in November over one month, against 1.8% of consensus FactSet, and after -0.4% in October. Excluding transport, these orders appreciated by 0.8% against 0.6% consensus and 0.5% a month earlier.
The job market continues to be dynamic across the Atlantic. Weekly jobless claims for the week ended December 18 thus stood at 205,000, in line with the market consensus, stable compared to the previous week, and back to their pre-coronavirus crisis level.
Much less hospitalizations for Omicron than other variants
Finally, sales of new homes reached 744,000 in November in the United States, the highest for 7 months, although economists expected a slightly higher figure (770,000). Over one year, sales are down 14% compared to November 2020. The October figure has also been revised down to 662,000 against 745,000 initially. The new home market has been weighed down by the shortage of building materials and rising prices, which has made it difficult for first-time buyers to buy since the Covid-19 crisis.
On the pandemic front, the news was therefore rather reassuring on Thursday. The British newspaper ‘Times’ reported that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 would be less likely to cause serious illness than the Delta variant, the risk of requiring at least one overnight stay in hospital is reduced by 40%. Results from a study in England also showed that Omicron cases were 15-20% less likely to need to go to the emergency room.
A second study carried out in Scotland has shown that patients who contracted Omicron would be 64% less likely to be hospitalized. These first Scottish data, published Wednesday, concern young adults doubly vaccinated and compare the new variant to the Delta.
Bloomberg, for his part, South African data from Omicron, showing 80% lower risk of hospitalization, in comparison with other variants. Another Bloomberg article finds that the number of cases in South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first discovered, has fallen sharply in recent days.
The studies from Scotland and England therefore seem to support the conclusions of South Africa, but with less impressive reduction percentages in hospitalizations and serious illnesses. Overall, the studies show a greatly reduced risk of hospitalization. In addition, South African data suggests that the huge wave of the new variant appears to be falling as quickly as it has risen.
VALUES TO FOLLOW
You’re here (+ 5.7%). Elon Musk, who had let Internet users decide for him on a sale of 10% of his stake in the capital of the electric vehicle manufacturer, has almost finished selling shares You’re here. Wall Street took note yesterday, as the title literally soared 7.5% to $ 1,008.9. The market capitalization of the case is thus back on the 1000 billion dollars, while the fortune of Musk reaches 262 billion dollars according to the measurement of Forbes in real time … The objective of Musk will be reached “when the disposals 10b preprogrammed “will be finalized. “There are still a few slices, but it’s almost done,” said the billionaire on Twitter, relieving investors.
The wave of sales of Elon Musk shares exceeds $ 15 billion, notes the Wall Street Journal. In addition, the CEO has now exercised almost all of the stock options expiring in August. The businessman yesterday sold a few more Tesla Inc. shares, bringing the total amount of disposals to more than $ 15 billion since last month. Further sales came as Musk exercised more than 2.1 million Tesla stock options, according to regulatory documents filed Wednesday night. He sold more than 934,000 of the shares of the company he runs, valued at around $ 928.6 million, to cover withholding taxes, according to the previous day’s disclosures. The latest transactions are part of a plan Musk established on September 14 to exercise options and sell shares. The options he exercised are part of approximately 23 million vested stock options that will expire in August 2022. He has exercised approximately 21.3 million of those options.
In addition, Credit Suisse expects Tesla to deliver 290,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter against a consensus of 267,000 units.
Walmart (-0.22%), the American colossus of mass distribution, will passively become the largest shareholder of JD.com (-6.9%), Chinese e-commerce firm. Indeed, the Chinese group of video games and social networks Tencent announced that it will distribute to its shareholders a dividend of $ 16.4 billion constituting the bulk of its stake in JD.com. Thus, at the end of the transaction, Tencent’s stake in JD.com would drop from 17% to 2.3%, making Walmart the main shareholder of JD – whose share price loses nearly 8% on Wall Street. . For now, Walmart owns 9.3% of the capital of JD.com according to the Chinese company.
Pfizer (-1.4%). The FDA has approved Pfizer’s Paxlovid for the home antiviral treatment of Covid, intended for people at risk aged 12 years and older. This decision makes this pill the first home treatment available in the USA.
According to the results of trials conducted by Pfizer, Paxlovid would reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by nearly 90% in people at risk of developing severe forms of covid. In addition, the company says, based on recent data, that its treatment would retain its effectiveness against Omicron.
The American pharmaceutical giant, which is already developing the most widespread Covid-19 vaccine with its partner BioNTech, said it would be able to deliver 180,000 treatments in the United States by the end of the year and has revised upwards the number of treatments it could provide next year, to 120 million against 80 million previously. US President Joe Biden has meanwhile indicated that 250,000 treatments would be available in the US in January, out of the 10 million treatments that the federal government has ordered from Pfizer. The five-day prescription treatment consists of two antiviral drugs, ritonavir, which was already on the market, and Pfizer’s new antiviral. It should be started as soon as possible after symptoms and a positive screening test …
Merck & Co (-0.56%). Following Pfizer’s, the FDA also approved Merck’s anti-Covid pill, molnupiravir, on Thursday as part of home treatment. However, the effectiveness of the treatment would be much lower than that of Pfizer’s product, Paxlovid. In Europe, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the emergency use of Paxlovid in November, without granting it full European marketing authorization. EMA has left individual member countries to decide on its use. On Wednesday, the French Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, announced on the set of BFMTV that a pre-order of 50,000 doses of molnupiravir had been canceled due to its low effectiveness.
Novavax (-3.3%). The US laboratory says preliminary data shows that its vaccine against covid triggers an immune response against the Omicron variant.
Intel (+ 0.67%) apologized Thursday to its customers, partners and the Chinese public, after the publication of a letter asking its suppliers not to source products or labor in the western region of Xinjiang.