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Red End to Otherwise Green November

Global markets ended an otherwise impressive month in the red on a relatively quiet news day. The US, UK, Europe and most of the Asia-Pacific were in the red, but the mighty New Zealand market bucked the trend to close comfortably in the green.

US equities in the red

Losses on the last day of November put a dampener on an otherwise historic month for US equities that has seen the major indices surge higher into record territory as the post-election/vaccine rally continued amid an ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases. The S&P 500 (-0.9%), Dow Jones Industrial Average (-1.3%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.5%) fell, with all sectors in the red. Moderna shares rocketed +18.4% after the company released final data from its late-stage trials that saw its vaccine be just over +94% effective and officially indicated it is filing for emergency use authorisation from the Food and Drug Administration, as Pfizer (+2.7%) and BioNTech (+7.9%) did earlier in November. Novavax was up +13.5% after saying its UK and South African COVID-19 vaccine trials had completed enrollment, despite delays in starting its US/Mexican trial. EV truck developer Nikola plunged -23.3% after General Motors (-1.8%) scaled back the companies' tentative cooperation agreement to include only supply, without the previously indicated equity stake or development assistance. Tesla pulled back by -1.5% after closing up +19.6% last week. Facebook (-1.3%) is reportedly nearing a deal to purchase CRM platform company Kustomer.

Europe and UK peel back from record monthly gains

French and UK stocks weighed on the Europe's Stoxx 600, which closed down -0.6%. Moderna's manufacturing partner, Lonza Group, was up +3.2%. Germany's Economy Minister said the country's COVID-19 restrictions could continue until spring if cases don't fall.

The UK's FTSE 100 was on track for one of its best months on record for November, but steep losses to open the week saw that just slip out of reach as the index fell -1.1%. AstraZeneca shares added +1.8% after a Wall Street broker lifted its target price and rating on the company following recent stock price weakness owing to some equivocal vaccine trial results.

Asian markets slip

Major Asian markets pulled back from solid gains made last week on vaccine optimism. The Hang Seng slumped -2.0% to wipe away last week's gains, while the Kospi (-1.5%), Nikkei 225 (-0.8%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.5%) also fell.

The ASX 200 lost -1.3% as investors prepared for economic growth data and today's Reserve Bank meeting, but the index still managed a healthy +10% gain in November. Treasury Wine Estates fell a further -6.9% after China's imposition of tariffs on Friday.

Gains in the electricity sector and a surge in F&P Healthcare (+5.8%) helped lift the NZX 50 +1.0% into the green to close out the month. Kathmandu slumped -6.2% after the retailer's CEO of 5 years, Xavier Simonet, resigned to take up a job in Australia.

Crude oil and gold down, iron ore up

WTI crude oil fell -1.1% to US$45.04, gold lost -0.3% to US$1,782.33 and iron ore added +US$0.62 to US$124.25/MT.

NZ Headlines

Growing its scale, building its Australia arm, and comprehensive digitisation are the underlying drivers of Heartland Bank’s (HGH) strategic direction, bank top brass told shareholders at the company's AGM on Monday afternoon.

Kathmandu Group (KMD) chief executive Xavier Simonet has resigned after more than five years with the dual-listed outdoor clothing and equipment company. He will take up a position as the head of Austrade.

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