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U.S. Stocks Lowered Thursday while Asian Shares Edged Higher

U.S. stocks plummeted on Thursday. New restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19 overshadowed reports that scientists are at last making fast progress towards a working vaccine. Negative sentiment pushed shares lower. The U.S. dollar remained near its lowest point in two years.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index also closed lower after the last session. New York City decided to shut schools due to surging infections. Pfizer Inc. rallied after announcing that its coronavirus vaccine was 95% effective. Such results are paving the way for Pfizer to apply for the first U.S. regulatory authorization for a Covid-19 shot within days.

Target Corp. skyrocketed on soaring sales. On the other hand, Lowe’s Cos Inc. tumbled down after earnings proved worse than analysts’ expectations.

Overall, the S&P 500 Index plummeted down by 1.2% on Thursday, while the Stoxx Europe 600 Index soared by 0.4%. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index also climbed up by 0.1%, and the MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 0.4%.

Furthermore, Bitcoin surged forward. It seems crypto-mania continues, with Bitcoin skyrocketing past $18,000 for the first time since December 2017. However, the digital coin retreated again soon.

Even though gains bolstered stocks to record highs earlier this week, investors are focused on the latest Covid-19 data. The reports showed disturbingly high infection rates in the U.S. and Europe on Wednesday. As a result, the S&P 500 dropped for two consecutive days for the first time since late October. 

What do the stock market experts think?

Adam Phillips, the director of a portfolio strategy at EP Wealth Advisors, stated that traders are currently taking a well-earned timeout. He added that markets’ sentiment rallied to levels that suggested excessive optimism due to the news of the last couple of weeks. Progress towards a vaccine seems promising, but even though it suggests a light at the end of the tunnel, we can’t be sure how long that tunnel is.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average plummeted down by 1.1% after Tokyo reported a record number of new infections. However, Asian stocks traded slightly higher on Thursday.

In Europe, equity gauges closed in the green. The British pound continued its climb amidst hopes of a Brexit deal. But data showed stronger-than-expected inflation. Inventors are watching out for Brexit talks to continue. The U.K. and EU are approaching the latest deadline.

Meanwhile, the euro dropped down by 0.1% to $1.1854. On the other hand, the British pound soared by 0.2% to $1.3269, and the Japanese yen gained 0.3% to 103.86 per dollar.

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