European Stocks Steady; Bitcoin Tops $18,000: Markets Wrap

European stocks and U.S. futures steadied as investors weighed the rise in virus cases against optimism over a vaccine. Bitcoin surged past $18,000 for the first time since December 2017.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed, while the Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 1.1% after Tokyo reported a record number of new Covid-19 infections. The dollar weakened after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy still has a “long way to go” before it fully recovers from the pandemic.

With most market trading subdued on Wednesday, the moves in cryptocurrencies have caught Wall Street’s attention. Hedge fund titans and celebrities alike are back to speculating over Bitcoin’s wild ride and the digital currency has more than doubled this year.

Bitcoin Hits Speed Bump at $18,000 as It Retraces Record Highs

Outside of the crypto world, investors seem to be taking a pause after stocks hit all-time highs on Monday in the wake of progress toward a vaccine. Wide distribution of a shot is still months away, and cases are spreading quickly in the U.S. and Europe.

“The market has some fragility here,” said Mark Nash, head of fixed income at Merian Global Investors. “Investors are battling with a good 2021 ahead with vaccine rollouts versus getting through the winter with disappointing fiscal support.”

Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to resume negotiations on fiscal stimulus. McConnell stuck to his insistence on a targeted package.

Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said that a key safety milestone had been reached in the study of its vaccine, and the drug maker is now preparing to seek an emergency-use authorization.

In other markets, the pound added to gains on signs the U.K. and European Union are nearing a breakthrough on Brexit as early next week.

Here are some events to watch out for this week:

  • Brexit talks look set to continue as the U.K. and EU approach the latest deadline.
  • Bloomberg New Economy Forum virtually convenes global leaders to discuss trade, growing political populism, climate change, and the pandemic. Through Nov. 19.
  • Bank Indonesia rate decision Thursday.

These are the main moves in markets:


  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed at 8:57 a.m. London time.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2%.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index climbed 0.6%.


  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.2% to 1,147.15.
  • The euro increased 0.1% to $1.1879.
  • The British pound climbed 0.3% to $1.3283.
  • The Japanese yen strengthened 0.2% to 103.97 per dollar.


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries decreased one basis point to 0.85%.
  • The yield on two-year Treasuries gained less than one basis point to 0.17%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield fell less than one basis point to -0.57%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield dipped less than one basis point to 0.323%.


  • West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.7% to $41.67 a barrel.
  • Gold strengthened 0.1% to $1,883.10 an ounce.

— With assistance by Claire Ballentine, and Joanna Ossinger

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