Vaccine optimism, central bank action and Bidenomics keep prices above pre-Covid peak

The global economy has just had its worst year of the modern age and 2021 has not got off to the best of starts either. Yet stock markets appear impervious to bad news, with the MSCI World Index of developed market shares 10% above its pre-crisis peak. There are a number of reasons why equity markets are so hot.

Central bank action. Led by the US Federal Reserve, central banks were quick to respond to the market turmoil that accompanied the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in February and March last year. Interest rates were cut and money was pumped into the global economy through asset-purchase schemes known as quantitative easing. Just as importantly, the Fed gave the impression that it would not allow share prices on Wall Street to fall too far.

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