Financial markets latest: Vaccine hopes boost stocks as Covid resurgence continues

Covid will impact stock markets over the winter
Covid cases are rising worldwide

Asian and European stocks traded higher on Monday, buoyed by coronavirus vaccine hopes. Tradefair brings you the latest financial market news...

"Our large and robust dataset clearly shows a concerning trend in coronavirus infections."

- Professor Paul Elliott, Imperial College London

Investor optimism about progress towards a coronavirus vaccine buoyed stock markets on Monday (September 14), despite clear evidence of a resurgence in the pandemic in various parts of the world.

Asian markets ended the day in the green, while European shares also made a positive start to the day, before falling away slightly.

Wall Street futures indicated a positive opening in the US, following a tumultuous few days last week.

Markets boosted

The positive opening in Europe on Monday saw the FTSE 100 post an early gain of 0.7%, before falling to finish the morning about 0.2% below its starting point.

Elsewhere in Europe, France's CAC 40 was also up at the open, rising by 0.8% before trending downwards to end the morning largely flat. Both Germany's DAX index and the pan-European Stoxx 600 were also relatively unchanged towards the end of the session after bright starts.

Positive trends in Asia saw both the Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index end the day more than 0.5% up. Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.65% higher, while the Asia Dow gained more than 1%.

Investor sentiment was boosted by hopes of progress towards a Covid-19 vaccine. Phase three trials of a vaccine candidate being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford have resumed, after researchers were forced to stop work last week when a study subject fell ill.

Meanwhile, the CEO of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Albert Bourla, told CBS a vaccine could be available to Americans before the end of the year, if it is found to be safe and effective.

'Concerning' Covid trends

The recent resurgence of Covid-19 has made it clear that the pandemic will continue to have a major impact on economies and markets across the world for the foreseeable future.

An update from the World Health Organization revealed that the number of daily infections worldwide reached a new high on Sunday, with nearly 308,000 confirmed cases.

WHO Europe director Hans Kluge warned that "it's going to get tougher", telling the AFP news agency: "In October [and] November we are going to see more mortality."

Several European countries are battling second waves of the virus. France recorded a total of 10,561 infections on Saturday - the country's highest number since the pandemic began and the first time it has seen more than 10,000 confirmed Covid cases in a day.

In the UK, public health officials warned that the viral reproduction rate is now above one, which indicates the number of infections is increasing. There have also been "worrying signs" that the virus is spreading among the elderly.

Professor Paul Elliott of the Imperial College London School of Public Health said: "Our large and robust dataset clearly shows a concerning trend in coronavirus infections, where cases are growing quickly across England and are no longer concentrated in key workers."

In the US, which has seen more confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country, the infection rate is increasing in 11 states, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

President Donald Trump said the country was "rounding the corner" in its management of the outbreak, but Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, disagreed, describing the latest figures as "disturbing".

Wall Street comeback on the cards?

As far as market trends are concerned, the US witnessed plenty of volatility last week, particularly on the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite, which saw two consecutive days of falls on Thursday and Friday.

The S&P 500 fell by 2.5% last week, its biggest one-week drop since June, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average also declined over the course of the week.

Wall Street futures pointed to a positive opening on Monday, however, with the Dow trading 306 points higher and both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also in positive territory.

Trends in the coming week could be influenced by the outcomes of central bank meetings in the US, Japan and the UK.

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