GLOBAL MARKETS-Risk assets rally to records as U.S. political uncertainty ebbs

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
GLOBAL MARKETS-Risk assets rally to records as U.S. political uncertainty ebbs
Credit: © Reuters.

* U.S. government officials nod to formal Biden transition

* Dow industrials index trades over 30,000 for first time

* Bitcoin trades over $19,000, eyes record high (Updates prices, changes comment, dateline; previous LONDON/HONG KONG)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Stocks hit record highs on Tuesday while bitcoin and oil prices also rose as political uncertainty subsided after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden got the formal go-ahead to begin his transition to the White House.

Short of spelling out his defeat after repeated false claims that he had won the Nov. 3 race, President Donald Trump said Monday he told the federal agency that must sign off on the presidential transition to begin the process. Nikkei closed overnight at its highest since 1991, European stocks .STOXX were at their highest since February and Wall Street's Dow Industrials hit a record high, with reports of Biden's nomination of former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen further enticing risk investors.

This is all happening with the backdrop of upbeat COVID-19 vaccine news, including likely shots for some first responders in a matter of weeks and a highly successful so-called "vaccine for the world" that could be easily distributed across even the poorest countries. anticipate a Yellen-led Treasury alongside Fed Chair (Jerome) Powell will deliver an unprecedented coordination of monetary and fiscal policy that will pump up the battered sectors of the U.S. economy," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 481.41 points, or 1.63%, to 30,072.68, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 53 points, or 1.48%, to 3,630.59 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 128.23 points, or 1.08%, to 12,008.86.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX rose 0.91% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 1.34% and is on track to close at a record high.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.34%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS closed 0.48% higher, while Japan's Nikkei .N225 rose 2.50%.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP rose over 5% and has $20,000 in sight, with traders expecting volatility ahead due partly to Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday in U.S. markets. Gold fell for the fifth session in six.

"Trading conditions are likely to be volatile for the remainder of the week and crypto traders should expect $1,000 swings in the matter of minutes," OANDA's Moya said of bitcoin.

In other currency markets the dollar was under pressure from Yellen's expected push for fiscal stimulus, said Patrick Leary, chief market strategist and senior trader at Incapital in Minneapolis.

Gold hasn't rallied on the dollar debasement trade that pushed it to an all-time peak in August because some investors have latched onto the view that bitcoin is a store of value, Leary said.

The dollar index =USD fell 0.2%, with the euro EUR= was up 0.25% at $1.187.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.07% versus the greenback at 104.62 per dollar, while Britain's pound GBP= was last trading at $1.3338, up 0.11% on the day.

An index of emerging market currencies .MIEM00000CUS was little changed on the day. It hit a 2-1/2-year high last week.

Also spurred on by vaccine hopes, oil reached levels not seen since before the coronavirus pandemic began to spread in March.

"The possibility of having a vaccine next year increases the odds that we're going to see demand return in the new year," said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

U.S. crude CLc1 recently rose 4.46% to $44.98 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 was at $47.80, up 3.78% on the day.

Spot gold XAU= dropped 1.8% to $1,803.26 an ounce. Silver XAG= fell 1.68% to $23.18.

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