US stock markets are gearing up for a strong start to the week as further lockdown easing and some more promising vaccine news lifted sentiment after the bank holiday weekend.

Investors have come back to their desks in high spirits following the long sunny bank holiday weekend (here in the UK, anyway) with news of human trials of a possible COVID vaccine from Novavax. While there’s no guarantee it will be a success, it’s one of many companies that are making advances on the vaccine front which is really encouraging.

While that happens, countries around the world are pushing forward with lockdown easing measures in the hope that major second waves can be averted while we wait for a vaccine to become widely available. Time will tell how successful that will be but some images this weekend suggest it will be more challenging than maybe anticipated.

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Stock markets may be rallying today on this news but another story is going nowhere and will be a constant headwind for stockmarkets and that’s US-China tensions. More protests in Hong Kong over the weekend are likely to be another ongoing theme which will likely contribute to a breakdown in relations between the world’s two largest economies, should the US take action in response to China’s interference.

Oil lifted by economic optimism

Oil prices are rising once again, in line with the overall market, as the reopening of economies around the world further bridges the supply/demand gap that triggered the historic plunge last month. A combination of heavy cuts to global production and, thus far, successful reopenings have lifted prices back to far more sustainable levels although even here producers will find it tough. Momentum may slow the closer we get to $40.

Gold loses all momentum

Gold is trading a little lower today but holding above $1,715. Momentum fell out of the rally quite quickly after finally breaking $1,750 and it’s struggling to refind its form. This makes it look a little vulnerable in the near-term, with the next test coming around $1,680 although $1,700 may offer some support.

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