US stocks started the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note, with traders monitoring news of a new variant of coronavirus detected in the UK. Meanwhile, investors also welcomed news of lawmakers agreeing to a $900 billion covid-19 aid package. Markets became cautious, however, after President Donald Trump raised concerns about the package, calling it “a disgrace” and asking for $2,000 in direct payment checks to Americans, instead of the $600 included in the package. Trump also vetoed the annual defense bill during the week.
Meanwhile, initial jobless claims declined to 803,000 in the week ended December 19, from 892,000 in the previous week. However, the US continued to witness a rise in covid-19 cases, as the country began vaccination campaigns with doses developed by Pfizer and Moderna.
Performance of US Indices
Wall Street recorded small gains during the last session of the week, with trading volume remaining on the lighter side on Christmas Eve. The stock market closed at 1pm ET on Thursday and remained closed on Friday for the Christmas Day holiday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 70.04 points to close at 30,199.87 on Thursday, recording a 0.1% weekly gain. The S&P 500 rose 0.4% to settle at 3,703.06 on Thursday, but saw a decline of 0.2% last week. The tech-laden Nasdaq index gained 0.3% on the last trading day and added 0.4% for the week.
Top US Stocks of the Week
RealPage, Inc’s (NASDAQ: RP) shares jumped around 29% on Monday after the company agreed to be acquired for $88.75 per share in cash.
Shares of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) declined around 7% on Monday as the stock was added to the S&P 500. Shares of the electric-vehicle maker ended the week with gains of around 1%.
Shares of Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPWH) jumped around 40% on Tuesday after the company said it would be bought by Great American Outdoors Group for $18.00 per share. The company’s stock gained a whopping 48% last week.
Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock rose around 3% on Tuesday after reports suggested that the iPhone market is looking to enter the self-driving vehicle market.
Nikola Corporation’s (NASDAQ: NKLA) shares fell around 11% on Wednesday after the company announced plans to end its collaboration agreement with Republic Services. Nikola’s stock lost more than 20% during the week.
Performance of European Indices
European shares climbed for a third consecutive session on Thursday as the UK and European Union finally agreed on a post-Brexit trade deal just a few days before the December 31 deadline. Markets were cautious during the start of the week following news of a new strain of coronavirus in Britain with various countries banning flights from the country. However, France reopened its border later during the week.
The STOXX 600 added 0.1% on Thursday, while the French CAC 40 slipped around 0.1%. London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.1% on Thursday. Equity markets in Germany and Italy remained closed on Thursday for the Christmas holidays.
Top European Stocks of the Week
Travel-related stocks tumbled on Monday after various European countries banned travel from the UK after a new variant of coronavirus was found in the country. Carnival’s shares dropped more than 5%, while Trainline’s stock lost more than 10%.
British supermarket companies came under pressure on Tuesday after warning that international travel bans might impact their business. Sainsbury’s shares declined more than 1% on Tuesday.
Airline stocks including Lufthansa and Airbus gained more than 4% each on Wednesday after France reopened its border to Britain.
The Forex Market
Various Asia-Pacific currencies moved lower versus the US dollar with the greenback regaining some strength on profit-taking during the holiday-shortened week.
The Japanese yen declined to over one-week lows on Monday due to concerns around a new strain of coronavirus discovered in the UK. Domestic economic data came in mixed, with core CPI declining 0.1%, while retail sales gained 0.7%. The USD/JPY settled at 103.50, gaining 0.18% during the week.
The New Zealand Dollar also ended slightly lower against the US dollar last week. New Zealand’s currency tumbled at the start of the week but recovered more than 50% of its losses later during the week following an improvement in risk appetite driven by the Brexit deal and announcement of a fresh covid-19 relief package in the US. The NZD/USD declined 0.24% last week to settle at .7124.
The Crypto Market
Bitcoin continued to shatter new records last week, with the digital currency surging past the $28,000 level for the first time in its history. With this, the crypto king gained more than 250% gains so far this year. Bitcoin traded close to the $28,300 level during the weekend.