New York (AFP)

Wall Street was close to balance on Wednesday at the start of the session, concerned about the resurgence of Sino-US tensions but more optimistic about the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus.

Around 13:50 GMT, its flagship index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average took 0.23% to 26,902.67 points.

The Nasdaq, with strong technological coloring, rose 0.40% to 10,722.69 points.

The extended S&P 500 index gained 0.28% to 3.266.44 points.

The New York Stock Exchange ended in dispersed order Tuesday in a market boosted by rather encouraging quarterly results from several large companies, but affected by the decline of the Internet giants: the Dow Jones had risen 0.60%, while that the Nasdaq was down 0.81%.

The United States on Wednesday ordered China to close its consulate in Houston without giving many details on its motives. Beijing threatened Washington with "retaliation."

The announcement of this decision on Wednesday comes against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the two powers on several fronts: controversial national security law in Hong Kong, accusations of espionage, human rights situation in Xinjiang (northwest) especially.

Investors, however, welcomed an announcement from BioNtech (+ 2.37%) and Pfizer (+ 2.94%) that the US government would pay $ 1.95 billion to obtain 100 million doses of a potential vaccine against the new coronavirus, developed by this German-American alliance.

“These optimistic forecasts and these preparedness efforts send positive waves to imagine a better economic outlook,” said Patrick O'Hare of

"This could of course be offset by the fact that President Trump has announced that the coronavirus will undoubtedly worsen before improving," tempers the expert.

Separately, billionaire investor Bill Ackman told financial news channel CNBC on Wednesday morning that he believed financial markets would be trending higher in the long term, but was pessimistic about over-leveraged companies.

"Heavily indebted businesses are going to have a hard time because it will take time for the economy to pick up. I don't think the Fed is going to bail out companies that have too much debt," said Mr. Ackman.

In the bond market, the 10-year rate on US debt fell to 0.5889%, from 0.6004% Tuesday night.

© 2020 AFP