US stocks started the last month of the year on a positive note, with the Nasdaq hitting an all-time high. All sectors in the S&P 500 index were higher, led by financials, industrials were the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500 index. Pfizer and Moderna on Tuesday applied for vaccine approval in the EU. The Nasdaq announced that it would require in the future that all companies listed had at least one woman and one minority on the board of directors. US ISM Manufacturing came in softer than expected with a dip into contraction territory for employment. The dollar continued to tumble hitting a 2.5-year low.
Pfizer and Moderna Apply for Vaccine Approval in the EU
Pfizer Inc. and U.S. drugmaker Moderna Inc. both applied for their coronavirus vaccines to be approved in the European Union. The announcement brings hope that the EU will soon be able to start vaccinating its 448 million people against a disease.
The Nasdaq Focusses on Diversity and Inclusion
The Nasdaq Inc. will move to require listed companies to include women and people of diverse racial identities or sexual orientation on their boards. Approximately 75% of the companies listed on the Nasdaq will be impacted by this requirement. The exchange operator filed a proposal with the Securities and Exchange Commission that would require listed companies to have at least one woman on their boards, in addition to a director who is a minority or one who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
ISM is Softer than Expected as Employment Drops
Institute for Supply Management reported that its manufacturing index fell to 57.5% in November from a 21-month high of 59.3% in the prior month. Expectations had been for the index to decline to 58%. While the overall number remains robust, the employment component was worrisome. The Employment Index returned to contraction territory at 48.4 percent, 4.8 percentage points down from the October reading of 53.2 percent. The New Orders Index registered 65.1 percent, down 2.8 percentage points from the October reading of 67.9 percent according to the ISM. The Prices paid Index registered 65.4 percent, down 0.1 percentage point compared to the October reading of 65.5 percent. The New Export Orders Index registered 57.8 percent, an increase of 2.1 percentage points compared to the October reading of 55.7 percent.