Markets end mixed | Calamatta Cuschieri

Wall Street closes lower as surging COVID-19 cases offset vaccine hopes

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday as investors wrestled with fiscal stimulus developments, concerns over a lengthy rollout of vaccines, and a growing number of state-level shutdowns to combat the spiraling COVID-19 pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 219.75 points, or 0.75%, to 29,263.48, the S&P 500 lost 24.33 points, or 0.68%, to 3,557.54 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 49.74 points, or 0.42%, to 11,854.97.

European stocks however ended higher as a jump in commodity-linked stocks helped to counter worries about rising coronavirus cases and an impasse over new U.S. stimulus. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.5%, clocking its third straight week of gains, with miners and the oil & gas sector rallying on continued strong demand in top consumer, China.

Maltese markets meanwhile edged higher, with the MSE Equity Total Return Index gaining 0.18 percent to 7,472.036. Five stocks traded, with three registering a move in price. Malta International Airport Plc posted the only gain, with shares up 4.76 percent at €5.50. Meanwhile, RS2 Software Plc recorded a 1.96 percent to €2.00 with Bank of Valletta Plc following with a 1.05 percent drop to €0.94.

AstraZeneca announces 90% effective vaccine

Britain’s AstraZeneca said on Monday its vaccine for the novel coronavirus could be around 90% effective without any serious side effects. The vaccine developed by Oxford University was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 when it was administered as a half dose followed by a full dose at least one month apart, according to data from the late-stage trials in Britain and Brazil

“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,” Pascal Soriot, Astra’s chief executive, said in a statement. No serious safety events related to the vaccine have been confirmed and it was well tolerated across both dosing regimens, it said.

The overall effectiveness was lower when measured across different dosing regimes, giving an apparent initial advantage to rival vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. But scientists also noted there may be advantages to AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

Source: Reuters

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