Stocks at record high but yields fall, dollar under pressure

Stocks rose across the globe on Friday to close at a fresh high and remained on track for their strongest monthly performance on record but the Nasdaq outperformed on Wall Street and Treasury yields fell, indicating lingering concerns over rising coronavirus cases globally.

A global stock index touched a record high for the third session this week while the dollar index, a measure of the greenback versus six peers, touched a three-month low and closed at its lowest since April 2018.

On Wall Street, the main indexes rose and the Nasdaq Composite hit a record high. The Nasdaq outperformance mirrors recent sessions when, despite rising stocks, the focus was on the economic impact of the pandemic. The U.S. expects a further surge in coronavirus infections following the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37.9 points, or 0.13%, to 29,910.37, the S&P 500 gained 8.7 points, or 0.24%, to 3,638.35 and the Nasdaq Composite added 111.44 points, or 0.92%, to 12,205.85.

European stocks rose after the European Central Bank reinforced expectations of further stimulus next month and Sweden’s Riksbank made a surprise increase to its quantitative-easing program.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.41% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.39% to 623.75 after touching a high of 624.29.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.12%, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.40%.

Questions also lingered over trial data on AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 “vaccine for the world,” as several scientists sounded caution over the trial results.

Australian shares ended down 0.5% with Treasury Wine Estates down 11.25% as China imposed new tariffs on Australian wine, the latest move in the countries’ long-running trade row.

The European Union and Britain said substantial differences remained over a Brexit trade deal, as the EU chief negotiator prepared to travel to London in a last-ditch attempt to avoid a tumultuous finale to the five-year crisis.

Sterling, which has climbed over 3% against the dollar this month, was last trading at $1.3299, down 0.42% on the day. [GBP/]

“Clearly, there are substantial and important differences still to be bridged, but we’re getting on with it,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters.

The dollar index fell 0.269%, with the euro up 0.39% to $1.196. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.24% versus the greenback at 104.03 per dollar.

“Over the longer term, this is probably the right trend for the dollar. We think the dollar has further room to the downside,” said Bipan Rai, North America head of foreign exchange strategy at CIBC Capital Markets.

The yield on benchmark Treasury notes fell as some investors sought the safety of holding government debt over persistent concerns about the surge in coronavirus cases and lockdowns in several U.S. states and around the world.

The 10-year notes last rose 11/32 in price to yield 0.8422%, from 0.878% late on Wednesday.

Oil prices, up for a fourth straight week, were mixed.

U.S. crude recently fell 0.42% to $45.52 per barrel and Brent was at $48.27, up 0.98% on the day. Both rose over 7% this week.

Bitcoin fell 2.25% to $16,774.49 after tumbling 8.4% in the previous session. The cryptocurrency brushed against its record high of $19,666 earlier this week and has rallied around 130% this year.

Spot gold dropped 1.3% to $1,787.40 an ounce. Silver fell 3.20% to $22.70.