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US stocks hit record high at open; pound reverses post-election gains


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US stocks hit record high at open; pound reverses post-election gains

➤ Boeing falls after 737 MAX production halt.

➤ Lloyds, RBS shares slump after stress test results.

➤ Johnson not eyeing Brexit transition extension, sending pound tumbling.

Treasurys rise.

Wall Street hit another record high, while sterling reversed post-election gains as no-deal Brexit fears at the end of a transition period returned.

The S&P 500 added 0.2% around 9:35 a.m. ET, having closed at an all-time high yesterday on the back of a partial trade deal struck between the U.S. and China last week.

Boeing Co. suspended the production of its 737 MAX aircraft beginning January 2020, sending its shares 0.8% down. This is likely to increase compensation payouts to airlines affected by the grounding and impact the company's supply chains, Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, wrote.

The company's share price declined 4.3% yesterday on reports that a production halt was being considered.

In trade news, China will reportedly grant tariff waivers to buyers of agriculture products from the U.S. on a more frequent basis after both countries agreed to the text of the preliminary trade deal.

European bourses posted losses, with the wider Europe Stoxx 600 index declining 0.7%.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.2%, as share prices of Lloyds Banking Group PLC and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC shed 5.6% and 3.8%, respectively, following the Bank of England's stress test results.

The Unilever Group declined 6.6% after the Anglo-Dutch consumer-goods maker issued a fiscal 2019 sales warning.

Asian equities, however, rallied, with the Shanghai SE Composite rising 1.3%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng advancing 1.2% and Japan's Nikkei 225 up 0.5%.

In currencies, sterling slumped 1.4% to $1.3152 amid reports that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not plan to seek an extension of the Brexit transition period beyond 2020.

"Markets are seemingly less confident that the government can strike a new trade deal with the EU by the end of 2020, avoiding a cliff-edge exit," according to a Monex Europe note.

Meanwhile, annual wage growth across the U.K. fell more than expected in the three months to October, while the unemployment rate remained at its lowest level since 1975, ahead of the BoE's policy decision later this week.

Elsewhere, the euro rose 0.1% versus the U.S. currency while the Japanese yen was flat. The Dollar Index gained 0.2%.

The yield on 10-year Treasurys and German Bunds fell 1 basis point each to 1.871% and negative 0.285%, respectively.

In commodities, Brent crude oil gained 0.5% to $65.66 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange and gold was up 0.1%.

More from S&P Global Market Intelligence:

US banks reduce reliance on CDs, but rates significantly lag Fed rate cuts

Health industry scores big wins in Capitol Hill year-end spending package

S&P 500 earnings, week of Dec. 16: FedEx, NIKE set to report

Three months in, Mexico's fintech law draws mixed feelings

Italy at odds with Germany over proposal to close sovereign bond 'doom loop'

The day ahead:

10 a.m. ET — U.S. job openings and labor turnover survey (Econoday consensus: 7.015 million job openings)

6:50 p.m. ET — Japan merchandise trade balance (Econoday consensus: ¥350.0 billion)