US equity futures and world stocks rose again as the last thrush of the year end rally levitated risk assets, with the S&P inching closer to recent all time highs and Asian shares hitting a record on Wednesday. Futures on the S&P 500 added 0.4%, recouping much of Tuesday’s losses, and emerging-market stocks advanced to the highest levels since 2007 on buoyant inflows. U.S. stocks retreated from an intraday record high on Tuesday after Mitch McConnell put off a vote on President Donald Trump’s call to increase COVID-19 relief checks from $600 to $2,000.
The upbeat mood pushed the dollar to its lowest since April 2018, while its replacement, Bitcoin, extended its frenzied rally, approaching $29,000 before reversing. Speculative bets on USD futures hit the most bearish since 2011.
Predictably, on the last full-day session of the year, volumes were lethargic with Europe’s Stoxx 50 seeing about half of the average activity. That did not stop them from rising, however, and Europe’s stock markets were set for a sixth straight session of gains as AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine became the second to be approved by Britain, helping the FTSE 100 add as much as 0.2% early on. A new, more transmittable variant of the virus is spreading rapidly but European Union countries have also begun rolling out Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine this week. The United States also detected its first-known case of the new, highly infectious coronavirus strains already spotted in Britain and South Africa. Away from the virus worries, British lawmakers were set to vote on the UK-European Union trade deal later on Wednesday, a day before a Brexit transition arrangement expires.