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* Vaccine could reach first Americans by mid-December
* U.S. business activity expands rapidly in November - data
* Tesla close to hitting $500 billion in market cap
* Surging coronavirus cases cap stock market gains
* Indexes: Dow up 0.64%, S&P up 0.18%, Nasdaq down 0.05%
Nov 23 (Reuters) - The blue-chip Dow rose in choppy trading
on Monday as hopes of a COVID-19 vaccine fueled demand for
economically-sensitive stocks such as energy and industrials,
while a sell-off in technology heavyweights weighed on the S&P
500 and the Nasdaq.
Six of the 11 major S&P indexes were trading higher by early
afternoon, with industrials and energy jumping
1.2% and 4.6%, respectively, as data showed monthly business
activity expanded at the fastest rate in more than five years.
The communication services and information
technology indexes were among the biggest decliners as
investors rotated out of the tech mega-caps that were seen as
safe bets following a coronavirus-led crash earlier this year.
"The vaccine is the driving factor in terms of the general
optimism," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in
St. Petersburg, Florida.
"(But) you are going to get a little bit of back and forth
as this is a holiday week and typically we are going to get lot
Evidence of high efficacy rates in experimental COVID-19
vaccines had lifted the S&P 500 to a record high this
month and brought the blue-chip Dow close to breaching
30,000 points for the first time.
AstraZeneca Plc became the latest major drugmaker on
Monday to say its vaccine could be around 90% effective, while
in the United States, the health regulator is likely to approve
in mid-December the distribution of the vaccine made by Pfizer
The CBOE volatility index, known as Wall Street's
fear gauge, edged lower to hover near levels last seen in
"November has been that month when we were finally convinced
that there is light at the end of the tunnel (and) today is
another one of those days," said Art Hogan, chief market
strategist at National Securities in New York.
Kicking off a trading week shortened by the Thanksgiving
holiday on Nov. 26, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was
up 0.64%, at 29,450.81. The S&P 500 was up 0.18% , while
the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.05%.
Sentiment was dented by new lockdowns to contain a surge in
coronavirus infections with Nevada on Sunday becoming the latest
state to tighten curbs on casinos, restaurants and bars, while
imposing a broader mandate for face-coverings over the next
Meanwhile, hopes of more monetary stimulus were dampened
after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week pulled the
plug on some of the Federal Reserve's pandemic emergency lending
Tesla Inc surged 5.7%, inching closer to hitting
$500 billion in market capitalization ahead of its inclusion in
the S&P 500 next month.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 2.90-to-1 on the NYSE
and 1.95-to-1 on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 26 new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 146 new highs and eight new lows.
(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Shivani Kumaresan in
Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru;
Editing by Arun Koyyur)