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Stocks Rise on Covid-19 Vaccine Results

11/23/2020 | 10:37am EST

By Joe Wallace

U.S. stocks rose Monday after promising results on a Covid-19 vaccine bolstered hopes for an economic rebound in 2021.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 263 points, or 0.9%, in morning trading, an upbeat start for the blue-chip index after it closed last week with losses.

The S&P 500 rose 0.6%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.3%.

The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was found to be as much as 90% effective in preventing infections without serious side effects in a large trial. The results added to optimism among investors that the deployment of effective vaccines can help bring coronavirus under control next year, allowing beaten-down sectors of the economy to recover.

"When you look into the details, it looks like very good news," said Paul O'Connor, head of multi asset at Janus Henderson Investors. Unlike shots under development from Pfizer and Moderna, AstraZeneca's vaccine can be stored at temperatures above zero degrees Celsius, easing the distribution process.

Pfizer and partner BioNTech on Friday asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to clear the companies' Covid-19 vaccine and said distribution could potentially begin in mid-December.

Preliminary data showed U.S. business activity accelerated in November to a more than five-year high despite a surge in coronavirus infections and tightening restrictions. The data from IHS Markit, based on surveys of purchasing managers, showed both manufacturing and services activity remained in expansion territory.

Ten of the S&P 500's 11 sectors gained Monday, with economically sensitive sectors like energy and financials among the strongest performers.

Cruise operators were among the winners from the vaccine news, with shares of Royal Caribbean Group gaining 2.4%.

"There's a growing prospect of a significant normalization of economic activity in the second half of next year," said Mr. O'Connor. Still, he added much of the vaccine optimism was already baked into stock prices and he thinks the current surge of coronavirus is likely to weigh on economic growth in the U.S. in the coming months.

AstraZeneca shares in London fell 3.3% as some investors appeared to be disappointed that its vaccine candidate fell short of the high effectiveness rates reported by Pfizer and Moderna.

Moderna shares rallied 3.9%, while Pfizer stock slipped 0.4%.

The U.S. reported 142,732 new cases of coronavirus Sunday and registered a record number of hospitalizations for the 13th straight day. Reported case counts are generally lower over the weekend, and the country's rolling seven-day average continues to climb.

In Europe, where authorities have taken a more stringent approach to stemming the second wave of coronavirus, restrictions are already taking their toll on economy. Business activity has fallen so far this month, surveys of purchasing managers by IHS Markit showed Monday, with a particularly steep decline in France.

The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 was roughly flat in recent trading. Asian markets were broadly higher, with China's Shanghai Composite Index climbing 1.1%. South Korea's Kospi advanced 1.9% after government data showed exports rose 11% in the first 20 days of November, a boost for the trade-reliant economy.

Brent crude futures rose 1.4% to $45.59 a barrel, putting the global oil benchmark on track for its highest settlement since early September.

In government bonds, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes ticked up to 0.854%, from 0.828% Friday. Yields rise when bond prices fall.

Write to Joe Wallace at Joe.Wallace@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-23-20 1036ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ASTRAZENECA PLC -1.00% 7645 Delayed Quote.5.43%
BIONTECH SE -1.09% 103.77 Delayed Quote.28.93%
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.83% 31187.67 Delayed Quote.0.68%
IHS MARKIT LTD. 2.46% 89.675 Delayed Quote.-2.60%
JANUS HENDERSON GROUP PLC 1.45% 34.66 Delayed Quote.5.08%
KOSPI COMPOSITE INDEX 0.72% 3111.77 Real-time Quote.5.49%
LONDON BRENT OIL -0.32% 55.78 Delayed Quote.5.90%
MODERNA, INC. -0.28% 125.0817 Delayed Quote.19.66%
NASDAQ 100 2.48% 13321.425157 Delayed Quote.0.84%
NASDAQ COMP. 2.11% 13477.745304 Delayed Quote.0.86%
PFIZER INC. -0.56% 36.525 Delayed Quote.-0.22%
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD -0.61% 73.01 Delayed Quote.-1.62%
S&P 500 1.49% 3855.79 Delayed Quote.1.14%
S&P/CITIC 300 INDEX 1.04% 4840.77 Delayed Quote.4.30%
S&P/CITIC 50 INDEX 0.69% 4849.41 Delayed Quote.3.26%
STOXX EUROPE 600 0.72% 410.84 Delayed Quote.2.23%
WTI -0.24% 53.03 Delayed Quote.8.53%
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