12:30 pm: A third promising vaccine has emerged
After a strong open, US markets gave back some gains. At midday, the Dow improved 154 points, 0.5%, to 29,417.7 at midday. The Nasdaq Composite, despite a strong start, slid 21 points, 0.2%, to 11,832, and the S&P 500 dropped to nearly flat, up just 2 points, less than 0.1%, to 3,559.6.
AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford announced Monday their coronavirus vaccine was up tp 90% effective on average, making it the third such vaccine that has been shown to be effective in trials.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper to produce and can does not need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, the AP reported.
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9.40am: Wall Street starts on front foot
US benchmarks, as anticipated, started trading Monday higher as trader sentiment was boosted by vaccine optimism.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 214 points at 28,477, while the S&P 500 advanced nearly 22 at 3,579. The Nasdaq exchange gained over 76 at 11,931.
Oil prices also surged as the market was buoyed by hopes global economies would return to more normal activity next year. Spot US benchmark crude (West Texas Intermediate) added 1.01% at US$42.85 a barrel.
“There’s a bit of a buzz back in the markets on Monday, as AstraZeneca and University of Oxford announced results of its vaccine trials,” noted senior market analyst, Craig Erlam at Forex firm OANDA.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is shining a little brighter this morning. The results of the trial on the face of it look less impressive than the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna results but if you look beyond the 70% headline number, it starts to look more and more impressive.”
Erlam suggested that traders were not so excited on this vaccine news as it was the third vaccine announcement and “to an extent, the results have been priced in”.
“Let’s remember, these companies aren’t competing against each other; even combined they can’t meet the demand that exists for this vaccine. The more successes we have, the faster the global economy can get back on its feet and life return to normal,” he pointed out.
In London, FTSE 100 was less chirpy, however. The UK’s top share index shed over 17 points at 6,333.
7.50am: US stock futures higher Monday
US stocks are expected to rediscover forward gear on Monday as optimism grows that coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines will soon be rolled out.
The Dow Jones is expected to open 173 points higher at 29,436 while the broader-based S&P 500 is tipped to start 17 points in credit at 3,575. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite is seen rising 95 points to 11,950 to open its account at 11,950.
“We should all be smiling this morning,” declared Robert Winkler and George Saravelos at Deutsche Bank.
“With AstraZeneca releasing trial results a few hours ago, our updated analysis suggests we are now on track for the majority of the developed world to immunise its vulnerable population to COVID by the spring and the entire population by mid-year. Depending on the pace of vaccine distribution there may even be upside to this estimate with some countries achieving herd immunity before summer,” the Deutsche Bank eggheads speculated.
“The combined vaccine news of the last few weeks is an unprecedented victory for science that will lead to a much faster pace of normalisation to our daily lives compared to what we would have assumed just a few weeks ago. By spring, things should be looking much closer to normal,” they suggested.
It now appears likely the US Food and Drug Administration will grant approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in mid-December, after which the roll-out could begin within days.
Yesterday, there were 143,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in the US, 7.1% higher than on Sunday of the previous week.
Case growth in the seven days to Sunday, however, has slowed to 14.8%, which was the lowest growth rate since mid-October.
But the US population’s inclination to reduce social interaction will be put to the test this week by the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday.
There is little on the macroeconomic front stateside today; Wednesday is the big day when the revised gross domestic product data for the third quarter will be released.
Five things to watch on Monday:
- AstraZeneca PLC announced that the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine it has developed with Oxford University is 90% effective in one of the dosing regimens. An independent monitoring board concluded that the AZD1222 formulation met its primary goals, protecting volunteers from the disease 14 days or more after receiving two doses of the vaccine, while there were no serious safety events.
- UK competition regulator the CMA said on Monday it had received a complaint about Google Inc related to its market study on online platforms and digital advertising earlier this year.
- President-elect Joe Biden’s top technology adviser helped craft California’s landmark online privacy law and recently condemned a controversial federal statute that protects internet companies from liability, indicators of how the Biden administration may come down on two key tech policy issues.
- Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Ed Bastian hinted at the possibility of purchasing Boeing Co’s 737 MAX, which was recently approved to fly again by US regulators, in an interview with the Financial Times on Sunday. The United Arab Emirates civil aviation regulator said on Sunday it would announce a return schedule for the Boeing 737 MAX in a timely manner after the United States last week lifted a 20-month-old flight ban on the jet, the state news agency WAM reported.
- Guitar Center Inc, the largest US. retailer of music instruments and equipment, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Saturday, as music lovers moved their shopping online during the coronavirus pandemic.
Story by ProactiveInvestors
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