By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Cecile Gutscher
The S&P 500 Index was little changed at noon in New York, after closing at an all-time high. Risk appetite has gotten a boost from President Joe Biden's push for nearly $2 trillion in additional spending and plans to jump-start a federal response to the pandemic. Benchmark Treasury yields remained higher after initial jobless claims posted a small decline.
In Europe, tech firms led gains, with the Stoxx 600 Index touching its highest level in 11 months. The euro held an advance after the European Central Bank left rates unchanged and affirmed the size of its pandemic purchase program at $1.2 trillion (1.85 trillion euros).
The MSCI World Index reached an intraday record on Thursday as investors look forward to increased economic support to battle the pandemic. ECB President Christine Lagarde warned the virus continues to pose a serious risk after policymakers voted to keep pumping unprecedented amounts of stimulus into the economy. In the U.S., Biden is seeking a $1.9 trillion fiscal package that's already drawn criticism from several Republican senators.
"High valuations could find justification in the strong recovery that we expect, while inflation assets remain in the affordable zone," according to Florian Ielpo, head of macroeconomic research and multi-asset portfolio manager at Unigestion SA. "We therefore see 2021 as a land of investment opportunities."
Meanwhile, fresh tensions surfaced between U.S. companies and Beijing. China's three biggest telecommunications firms said they requested a review of the New York Stock Exchange's decision to delist their shares. Separately, Twitter Inc. locked the official account of the Chinese embassy to the U.S., citing a violation of its "dehumanization" policy.
On the virus front, global fatalities hit a daily record, with a U.K. official comparing some hospitals there to a "war zone."
These are the main moves in markets:
The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1% as of 4 p.m. EST.
The Nasdaq 100 Index added 0.8%.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index ended flat.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7%.
The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 0.6%.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.2%.
The euro jumped 0.4% to $1.2158.
The British pound gained 0.5% to $1.372.
The onshore yuan was little changed at 6.461 per dollar.
The Japanese yen was little changed at 103.54 per dollar.
The yield on 10-year Treasurys gained three basis points to 1.11%.
The yield on two-year Treasurys fell one basis point to 0.12%.
Germany's 10-year yield climbed three basis points to -0.496%.
Japan's 10-year yield dipped one basis point to 0.043%.
West Texas Intermediate crude declined 0.3% to $53.13 a barrel.
Brent crude was little changed at $56.11 a barrel.
Gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,871.90 an ounce.