Markets In The Red On Brexit And Stimulus Doubts

European markets have opened in the red as investors dial down their risk as Brexit negotiations near a critical point ahead of Sunday’s deadline. In addition to this, an agreement on a US fiscal stimulus package still looks some way off. Despite some vaccine optimism, US index futures are trading down 0.5%.

 

In the US on Thursday, weekly initial jobless claims data gave investors cause for concern, surging to 853,000 in the latest week of data, up from 730,000 the week prior. New Covid-19 cases in the US are running at more than 200,000 a day, which is forcing a return to stricter social distancing restrictions for many companies and hurting the labor market. Late in the day, however, the US Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee voted to recommend emergency approval for Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, with seventeen in favor, four nos, and one abstention according to CNN. That sets the stage for a final decision from the FDA, which still needs to accept the recommendation.  

Airbnb share price more than doubles on first trading day

Short-term rental platform Airbnb’s (ABNB) flotation was the big news in US markets on Thursday, as the company’s share price hit more than double its IPO price on its first day of trading. Having set a $68 price on Wednesday evening, the company opened at $146 a share and closed the day out at $144. That values the company at close to the $100bn mark, just months after it laid off a quarter of its staff to cope with the impact of the pandemic.

Overall, US stocks were mixed on Thursday, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both marginally in the red, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.5%. In the S&P 500, energy stocks were the standout performer, adding 2.9%, as Brent crude prices passed the $50 mark. Oil exploration firms Occidental Petroleum and Apache led the index with gains of 9.9% apiece, followed by Twitter which added 8.4%. Twitter’s share price jump was driven by news of an integration with Snapchat that will allow users to share tweets via Snapchat.

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