Stock markets rise strongly in a risk-on year-end rally.
- Stock markets have been rising strongly since the week’s open, with several major indices closing at new all-time high prices. The risk-on year-end rally has been boosted by the passage of a new economic stimulus bill in the U.S. The Japanese Nikkei 225 Index is up by over 2% and off-hours trading in the S&P 500 shows the index trading higher still above 3750.
- Most major currencies are in strong, long-term bullish trends against the U.S. dollar, and close to multi-year high prices. These trends are now reasserting themselves, with the dollar clearly the weakest major currency while the euro and Australian dollar look strong.
- The British Parliament will vote on the Brexit trade deal agreed last week with the E.U. tomorrow. It is almost certain to be passed.
- Last week was the first in a while when daily reported new coronavirus cases and deaths did not reach a new all-time high globally, raising some hope that the rate of exponential spread of the virus may be slackening.
- Global coronavirus deaths have increased dramatically since early October to reach a level approximately 70% higher than the peak last April. Coronavirus new cases and deaths seem to be plateauing or falling somewhat in both the European Union and in the U.S.A. especially in the latter. The U.S.A. is currently confirming an average of more than 200,000 new cases daily and more than 2,100 deaths per day.
- Total confirmed new coronavirus cases worldwide stand at over 81.2 million with an average case fatality rate of 2.18%.
- The Spanish government has confirmed it will keep a register of those refusing the coronavirus vaccine, but that the register will be kept confidential.
- The rate of new coronavirus infections appears to now be increasing most quickly in Bahrain, Belarus, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Nigeria, Panama, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, the U.K., and Uruguay.