Stocks soar to record highs as coronavirus vaccine hopes build
Stocks soar to record highs as coronavirus vaccine hopes build

By Jonathan Garber FOXBusiness

U.S. equity markets rallied to record highs Monday after a report said a COVID-19 vaccine could come before the November election and President Trump announced a “major breakthrough” in the fight against the virus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained as many as 234 points, or 0.84%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were higher by 0.85% and 1.33%, respectively, extending further into record territory.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES28197.47+267.14+0.96%
SP500S&P 5003422.93+25.77+0.76%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX11340.740502+28.94+0.26%

The early gains came after a Financial Times report said AstraZeneca plc’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine is being considered by Trump for fast-track designation in an effort to get an immunization to market ahead of the November election.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AZNASTRAZENECA PLC56.56+0.85+1.53%

The report added to investor enthusiasm that emerged on Sunday evening after Trump announced an emergency authorization to use convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.

“This is a powerful therapy that transfuses very, very strong antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to help treat patients battling a current infection,” Trump said just over 24 hours before the start of the Republican National Convention.

Elsewhere on the vaccine front, Moderna Inc. announced enrollment for its Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial, expected to begin in September, crossed the 40% level.

Other drug makers producing COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including Pfizer Inc., BioNTech SE and Johnson & Johnson were also in focus.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MRNAMODERNA INC.64.52-1.93-2.90%
PFEPFIZER INC.38.77-0.12-0.30%
BNTXBIONTECH70.97-2.05-2.81%
JNJJOHNSON & JOHNSON151.23-0.52-0.34%

Meanwhile, Apple Inc. surged to record highs as investors raced to beat Monday’s deadline to get in on the 4-for-1 split, which will take place at the close of business on Friday.

Tesla Inc. shares hit their own record high after Wedbush said they could hit $3,500 apiece in a bull-case scenario. The electric-car maker will split its stock 5-for-1 at Friday’s close.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AAPLAPPLE INC.501.69+4.21+0.85%
TSLATESLA INC.1,990.13-59.85-2.92%
BXBLACKSTONE GROUP53.39+0.42+0.79%

In mergers and acquisitions, private-equity firm Blackstone Group Inc. reached a deal to acquire the consumer health-care business of Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. for 242 billion Japanese yen ($2.3 billion).

Looking at commodities, gold jumped $13.90 to $1,960.90 an ounce while West Texas Intermediate crude oil tacked on 45 cents to $42.79 a barrel as two storms forced production offline in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. Treasurys were little change with the yield on the 10-year note holding near 0.64%.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX paced the advance, up 2.45%, while France’s CAC and Britain’s FTSE surged 2.31% and 1.91%, respectively.

Asian markets were higher across the board with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbing 1.74%, Japan’s Nikkei adding 0.28% and China’s Shanghai Composite edging up 0.14%.

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