D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 4th to 10th January 2021
Today’s Monday Update:
Over the course of last week, most headlines were related to the Coronavirus and political events in the US. At long last, Brexit was mainly absent:
• On Monday, Britain began vaccinating its population with the COVID-19 shot developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, touting a scientific “triumph” that puts it at the vanguard of the West in inoculating against the virus.
Trading in euro-denominated shares shifted from London to new platforms in the European Union on Monday, the first day of trading since Britain left the bloc’s single market. EU banks and asset managers must use a platform inside the bloc for trading euro-denominated shares from Monday. No European trading had taken place on the three EU hubs until the shift. Trading in non-EU listed shares remains in London.
A closely watched gauge of growth in British manufacturing activity rose to its highest level in three years last month. The IHS Markit/CIPS manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for December rose to 57.5 from November’s 55.6, its highest since November 2017.
• Britain began its third COVID-19 lockdown on Tuesday, with citizens under orders to stay at home and the government calling for one last major national effort to contain the virus, before mass vaccinations can turn the tide.
Britain on Tuesday offered a £4.6 billion support package for businesses struggling to cope with the third national lockdown. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak said retail, hospitality and leisure companies will be able to claim one-off grants worth up to £9,000 to get them through the coming months - adding to hundreds of billions of pounds of existing support.
• Democrats won both hotly contested U.S. Senate contests in Georgia on Wednesday, giving them control of the chamber and the power to advance Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s policy goals, when he takes office this month. Even with the slim Senate majority, Biden and Democrats could find it difficult to advance some legislative priorities in the Senate, where most bills need to clear a 60-vote procedural threshold in the 100-seat chamber.
Later in the day on Wednesday, hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a stunning bid to overturn his election defeat, battling police in the hallways and delaying the certification of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory for hours.
In the gravest assault on the symbol of American democracy in more than 200 years, rioters forced their way past metal security barricades, broke windows and scaled walls to fight their way into the Capitol. Police said four people died during the chaos - one from gunshot wounds and three from medical emergencies - and 52 people were arrested. Some besieged the House of Representatives chamber while lawmakers were inside, banging on its doors and forcing suspension of the certification debate. Security officers piled furniture against the chamber’s door and drew their pistols before helping lawmakers and others escape.
• Hours after hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, a shaken Congress on Thursday, formally certified Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory. Immediately afterward, the White House released a statement from Trump in which he pledged an “orderly transition” when Biden is sworn into office on 20th January, although he repeated his false claims that he won the November election.
Some GPs in England will be able to offer the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University from Thursday, the NHS said, targeting the vaccination of the most vulnerable within six weeks. “We are aiming to offer vaccinations to the majority of care home residents by the end of January and all 13 million people in the top four priority groups by mid-February,” health minister Matt Hancock said. The government must ramp up shots to around 2 million a week to hit its target.
• Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine appeared to work against a key mutation in the highly transmissible new variants of the coronavirus discovered in the UK and South Africa, according to a laboratory study conducted by the U.S. drugmaker. The study by Pfizer and scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch, indicated the vaccine was effective in neutralizing virus with the so-called N501Y mutation of the spike protein.
• Over the week, the main Global Stockmarkets were up, for once led by the FTSE 100. Returns on overseas Stockmarket investments were pushed higher by a weaker Pound, which fell after recent strong rises. The investment D-PIMS Portfolios were up over the week, especially the higher risk Portfolios. They were helped by their diverse allocation.
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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.