D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 22nd to 28th March 2021
Today’s Monday Update:
Over the course of last week, headlines were mostly economic or Coronavirus related:
• Data out on Monday, showed the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine performed better than expected in a major US led late-stage trial, potentially paving the way for its emergency authorization in the United States and bolstering confidence in the shot. The vaccine was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic illness and 100% effective against severe or critical disease, from results of the late-stage human trial study of more than 32,000 volunteers across all age groups.
• New late-stage trial data show Regeneron and Roche’s antibody cocktail against COVID-19, cut hospitalisation or death by 70% versus a placebo in non-hospitalised patients, the Swiss drugmaker said on Tuesday.
The French hospital system could face an “unprecedented violent shock” in about three weeks if the country fails to curb its vertiginous rise in COVID-19 cases, the president of the French hospital federation, said on Tuesday. “The epidemic is gathering pace, and the figures are exploding,” Frederic Valletoux, who leads the hospital group and is also mayor of Fontainebleau just south of Paris, told LCI TV.
The European Union and Britain were expected to agree a cooperation framework for financial services by the end of March, but there will be “no rush” in granting the City of London access to the EU, the bloc’s financial services chief said on Tuesday.
• North Korea launched two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea near Japan on Thursday, underscoring steady progress in its weapons programme and ramping up pressure on the new U.S. administration, as it reviews North Korea policy. The tests were reported by authorities in the United States, South Korea, and Japan, and coincided with the start of the Olympic torch relay in Japan. They would be the first ballistic missile tests by North Korea in nearly a year and the first reported since U.S. President Joe Biden took office in January.
The number of new confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany jumped on Thursday by 22,657 to 2.713 million, the biggest increase since 9th January, as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government struggles to agree measures to contain the third wave of the pandemic.
Figures out on Thursday, showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a one-year low in the last week, providing a powerful boost to an economy on the verge of stronger growth as the public health situation improves and temperatures rise.
Also on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that vaccine passports are possible 'after all are offered a vaccine'. He said no decisions had been made, but there would be an update on the idea in April. A review will report in June. A government review into the possible use of coronavirus passports or status certificates to allow people to visit pubs and other venues is taking place under the plans to ease England's lockdown.
• On Friday, after reeling from the blockage in the Suez Canal, shipping rates for oil product tankers have nearly doubled over the week, and several vessels were diverted away from the vital waterway as a giant container ship remained wedged between both banks. The suspension of traffic through the narrow channel linking Europe and Asia, has deepened problems for shipping lines that were already facing disruption and delays in supplying retail goods to consumers.
Britain’s medicine regulator has approved a 20-second COVID-19 test, the product’s distributor said on Friday. As it launched a testing system, it said could be used in airports, sports venues and businesses. Rapid tests are seen as a key plank of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, but concerns have been expressed about the accuracy of existing lateral flow devices. Histate, which is distributing the test, said trials had indicated the test had 98.1% sensitivity, meaning it returns few false negatives, and 99.7% specificity, meaning few false positives.
• Over the week, the main Global Stockmarkets were mixed, with some up and some down – mainly in Asia and the Far East. Markets were still worrying about the future threat of inflation. The investment D-PIMS Portfolios were mostly a little up over the week, apart from the highest risk Portfolios. They were helped by their diverse allocations.
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The comments made above represent our interpretation of events and market views and are in no way a guarantee of future investment performance.