Markets soar, breaking records on Pfizer vaccine news

Stock markets skyrocketed Monday morning, breaking intraday records on the news from Pfizer that late-stage clinical trial data for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate was over 90 percent effective.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up over 1,500 points, or 5.5 percent, hovering at 29,887, well above its pre-pandemic peak of 29,569. By close, its gains were nearly cut in half, closing below previous records at 29,158.

The S&P 500 jumped 129 points, or 3.7 percent, reaching 3,636, well beyond its September record of 3,587. Like the Dow, the S&P pared back gains to close at 3,551, also below its record.

Industries that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, such as travel and leisure, saw major boosts, shifting investment away from e-commerce businesses that have thrived during the pandemic. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed the day in negative territory, losing 181 points, or 1.5 percent.

The news sets up a potential timeline and eventual end game for eradicating the global pandemic, which has caused one of the worst recessions on record. Millions of people have been put out of work, numerous businesses have been closed, over 10 million Americans have been infected, and nearly a quarter million have been killed.

President Trump praised the news, and the stock market reaction, in an all caps Tweet.


President-elect Joe Biden, who unveiled members in his COVID-19 taskforce Monday morning, welcomed the news, but warned the public that mask-wearing and social distancing would remain crucial for months until a vaccine can be approved, distributed, and given to a substantial proportion of the population.

“Americans will have to rely on masking, distancing, contact tracing, hand washing, and other measures to keep themselves safe well into next year,” he said in a statement. “Today’s news is great news, but it doesn’t change that fact.”

The news also comes as congressional leaders seek to find common ground on a long-delayed fifth COVID-19 relief package, which has stalled for months.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has argued that the recent drop in the unemployment rate, which fell to 6.9 percent in October, means less stimulus spending is necessary.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had been pushing for a deal upwards of $2 trillion before the election.

Updated at 5:17 p.m.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has regularly reiterated the importance of significant fiscal stimulus to keep the economy on track, saying that overshooting the fiscal target is less risky than undershooting.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine Donald Trump Joe Biden Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Pandemic Pfizer stocks Wall Street

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