US President Joe Biden toured Pfizer’s Kalamazoo manufacturing facility in Portage, Michigan on Friday.
NEW YORK: Bitcoin hit new record highs on Friday, surpassing $ 1 trillion market cap, while European and U.S. stocks were mixed as optimism about coronavirus vaccines and stimuli competed with inflation fears.
The digital unit zoomed in to another record of around $ 56,000, meaning the total value of all bitcoin is now over $ 1 trillion, according to data provider Coinmarketcap.com.
Meanwhile, oil prices fell as some companies slowly resumed operations in the American producer state of Texas, where a cold snap ravaged refineries.
Meanwhile, data showed that a new wave of lockdowns hit the eurozone economy hard, but the damage will be less severe than last year’s virus-induced crash.
The PMI index compiled by IHS Markit rose from 47.8 points in January to 48.1 points in February, approaching the 50-point level that would have indicated growth.
However, companies were also confident that vaccinations would allow economic activity to recover in the coming months, added IHS Markit.
Both Frankfurt and Paris gained 0.8% as investors digested positive German and French production numbers.
In the UK, London stocks remained in positive territory despite the pound rising above $ 1.40 for the first time in nearly three years and retail sales falling sharply in January when the country was locked again.
Sterling has crossed symbolic levels for the first time since April 2018, hitting $ 1.4036.
The currency was propelled by a vaccination drive that has raised hopes for an economic recovery and dwarfed news of a lockdown-induced drop in retail sales, traders said.
The UK’s latest PMI was close to the 50-point benchmark at 49.8, a substantial improvement from January’s 41.2 level, which analysts took as a sign that the UK economy was stabilizing.
Inflation risk weighed
Back in the US, the major indices ended almost flat after a troubled week.
US President Joe Biden, who appeared at a Michigan pharmaceutical factory, once again called on Congress to boldly re-launch the coronavirus-ravaged US economy and put in place its $ 1.9 trillion bailout.
In another favorable development for the markets and the country, Pfizer and BioNTech have shown that their Covid-19 vaccine can be stored at standard freezing temperatures, potentially reducing the costs and logistical challenges of widespread vaccination against the deadly virus.
A jump in interest rates on 10-year US Treasury bills amid inflation concerns “appears to be keeping profits in check,” according to a market note by Charles Schwab.
Among those not worried about inflation is IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath, who estimates that if fully stimulated, inflation would “reach around 2.25% in 2022, which is not to be worried about” she said in a blog post.
Key figures at 2130 GMT
New York – Dow: APARTMENT at 31,494.32 (close)
New York – S&P 500: 0.2% at 3,906.71 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: up 0.1% to 13,874.46 (close)
London – FTSE 100: up 0.1% to 6,624.02 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: increase by 0.8% to 13,993.23 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: increase by 0.8% to 5,773.55 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: Increase by 0.9% to 3,713.46 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: 0.7% at 30,017.92 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: 0.2% increase to 30,644.73 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: increase by 0.6% to 3,696.17 (close)
Euro / Dollar: UP at $ 1.2114 from $ 1.2092 at 2200 GMT
Pound / Dollar: UP at $ 1.4004 from $ 1.3975
Euro / Pound: DOWN at 86.48 pence from 86.53 pence
Dollar / Yen: DOWN at 105.46 yen from 105.69 yen
North Sea Crude Oil from Brent: 1.6% at $ 62.91 a barrel
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.1% at $ 59.24 a barrel