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$18 Billion Plan to Fund COVID Vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO) and two nonprofit organizations have drafted a plan that will spend $18 billion to distribute an eventual COVID virus vaccine equitably among nations.
The U.S. and other rich countries are funding various vaccine projects in exchange for early access to successful formulas.
The WHO’s project is intended to ensure that these rich nations do not claim all the vaccine doses early when supplies will be scarce.
Europe’s Stocks Outperform U.S. Shares. While the U.S. S&P 500 stock index gained 1.8 percent in June, Europe’s benchmark Stoxx 600 rose almost 3 percent.
European countries’ success in curbing COVID infections and their strong policy response to the economic shutdown – largely made up of central banks’ flood of cheap money and government grants – are credited with the continent’s market strength.
BlackRock, the world’s largest investment management firm, recently advised investors to “overweight” European stocks. The continent’s economy is poised to rebound, it said, “against a backdrop of solid public health measures and a galvanizing policy response” to the economic crash.
At the same time, BlackRock downgraded U.S. stocks to a neutral rating, warning “risks of fading fiscal stimulus and an extended epidemic are threatening to derail the market’s strong run.”
Investors also have been cheered by the prospect of a €750-billion “crisis fund” that would permit the EU to borrow cash in commercial markets and dole it out to member nations.
The Stoxx 600 index was still 16 percent below its late-February high point, but the index could easily gain another 15 percent, said Kasper Elmgreen, chief equities strategist at Amundi, a French asset management firm.
After the crash brought on by the global economic shutdown, “there’s only one way to go,” he added.

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