After a volatile December, a sense of calm returned to markets this week, as another round of studies showed the Omicron variant is less likely to require hospital treatment and trading activity subsided ahead of the Christmas holiday period.
The key US sharemarket closed in on fresh record highs, while the ASX200 regained the 7400 level.
Here are the top five things that happened in markets this week.
1. Upbeat US economic data
Economic data showed the Omicron outbreak has thus far failed to dent the economic recovery in the US.
Revised GDP data showed the US economy grew by a faster-than-expected 2.3 per cent in Q3, above preliminary estimates of 2.1 per cent.
The consumer confidence index rose to 115.8, up from an upwardly-revised reading of 111.9 last month.
2. No new lockdowns in the US
US President Joe Biden reiterated that the government would not reintroduce mobility restrictions and will purchase 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests that will be made free for Americans.
3. Build Back Better on the back-burner
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin will not support US President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion social spending plan.
President Biden remains hopeful that a deal can still be done with Senator Manchin to get the fiscal stimulus bill through Congress.
4. RBA meeting minutes indicate its QE program will cease in February
The recent hawkish shift by the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the European Central Bank, along with the bumper November Australian jobs report, suggest the RBA will end its quantitative easing (QE) program in mid-February.
5. Tesla bounced back
After falling almost 30 per cent over the past seven weeks from its $1243.90 high, the Tesla share price rebounded back above $1000 after Elon Musk confirmed he was “almost done” selling 10 per cent of his Tesla stock needed to pay his tax bill.
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