UK bans flights from S.A

24/12/2020 The JSE snapped a three day losing streak as investors weighed the US pandemic relief package passed by Congress on Monday night possibly being scuppered with signs of progress in Brexit talks. The rand traded near its strongest level since January ( 14.57/$ ) and the all share advanced after outgoing US President Donald Trump demanded changes to the $900bn spending package, saying the direct payments to individuals should be increased from $600 to $2,000, while couples should be awarded $4,000. The all share rose 0.6% to 58,987 points, and the top 40 0.6%. Index heavyweight Naspers, which accounts for about 21% of the top 40’s market value, edged up 0.2% to R3,047.24, while Nedbank climbed 5.5% to R131.85.
Fitch Ratings upgraded the national long-term ratings of SA’s five largest banks by assets to AA+ (zaf) from AA (zaf), saying their creditworthiness had improved.

• Local markets will close early, at 12pm, before the Dec. 25 public holiday.
• UK bans flights from S.A.
• Covid-19: SA records 14 046 new cases as concerns rise.
• IG Top 40 down

European markets closed higher yesterday as investors hoped a Brexit trade deal could be reached amid concerns over the approval of a long-delayed U.S. coronavirus stimulus package. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up 1.1%, with travel and leisure stocks climbing 3.67% to lead the gains. Health care stocks bucked the trend to slip around 0.4%. FTSE + 0.66%, CAC + 1.11%, DAX + 1.26%.

The S&P 500 overnight was little changed rising less than 0.1% after sliding in the final minutes of trading. Still, the benchmark index did manage to snap a three-day losing streak. The Dow gained 114 points, or 0.38%, after rising more than 270 points at one point during the session. The Nasdaq Composite hit a record high, before erasing those gains and closing 0.29% lower. The late-day slide came as investors took profits into the end of the year, and as President Donald Trump vetoed a sweeping defense bill. The move came after he called Congress’ $900 billion Covid relief package — months long in the making — an unsuitable “disgrace.” The president took particular issue with the direct payments, which he said should be lifted from $600 to $2,000. Futures this morning are a tad better, Dow + 46 points, S&P + 4 points and the Nasdaq + 15 points.
Asia-Pacific stocks are mostly higher this morning, with shares of Chinese tech giant Alibaba in the spotlight following reports that Chinese regulators will probe the firm for suspected monopolistic behaviour, trading down 8.13 %. ASX 200 + 0.33%, Nikkei + 0.42%, Kospi + 1.42% and Hang Seng + 0.16% despite Alibaba. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.38%.
Oil extends gains as a drawdown in U.S. stockpiles of crude and gasoline lifted demand hopes, while investors also cheered a potential Brexit trade deal. U.S. crude inventories fell by 562,000 barrels in the week to Dec. 18 to 499.5 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Both Brent and WTI were up over 2% yesterday. Brent $ 51.59 + 0.59%, WTI $ 48.42 + 0.67%.
Gold is little changed after yesterday’s 1 % gain despite President Trump vetoing the stimulus package, Gold’s trading up 0.19% at $ 1876, Silver rose 1% to $25.38 an ounce. Platinum climbed 0.5% to $1,007.11 and palladium gained 0.2% to $2,318.12.