The Dow soared to a record high Monday after Moderna (MRNA) became the latest major drug-maker to announce upbeat data for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, building on hopes that an effective inoculation will soon be available.
The Dow rose more than 450 points, or 1.5%, topping its previous record intraday high of 29,933.83 from Nov. 9. The S&P 500 also increased, while the Nasdaq hugged the flat line. Shares of airlines, cruise lines, hotels, and restaurant companies surged anew as the latest vaccine data suggested consumers might return more enthusiastically to these businesses. Moderna’s stock jumped more than 9% to a record high shortly after market open.
Moderna said Monday that preliminary data from its late-stage clinical trial showed its vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants. That followed Pfizer’s (PFE) announcement last week that its own vaccine candidate, which uses similar new messenger RNA technology, had an efficacy rate of more than 90%, or well above what many public health officials had been expecting.
Traders looked beyond the increasingly dire coronavirus situation in the U.S., as hopes that a vaccine would be approved and distributed in the near-term helped to assuage some fears. The S&P 500 jumped to an all-time closing high on Friday as each of the three major indices posted weekly gains. Stocks and sectors that were hardest-hit by the pandemic made up some ground after lagging for the year-to-date, while tech stocks underperformed. Shares of Zoom Video Communications (ZM), Slack (WORK) and Netflix (NFLX) were each pressured.
“As we hear more positive news on the COVID-19 vaccine, the overblown work-from-home trade is beginning to unwind because some of those stocks had baked in no vaccine at all,” David Trainer, CEO of investment research firm New Constructs,
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