Stocks and index ETFs are breaking new ground again on Tuesday, scrambling back from posting losses earlier in the day, as enthusiasm around the Pfizer vaccine rollout is spurring investors.
The S&P 500 gained 0.3% to reach a record high, where it breached the 3,700 level for the first time. The Nasdaq Composite also chartered a fresh all-time high, advancing 0.2%. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5%, still trading below its recent high.
Major stock ETFs are also breaking to higher ground on Tuesday amid the vaccine news. The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA), SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), and Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) are all advancing just after 1PM EST.
Investors were inspired by Pfizer’s U.K dissemination, driving the company’s stock up over 3% to peg its highest level in over a year. The move helped to boost fellow biotech BioNTech 1.8%. The jump also bolstered the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) over 1%.
The U.K. requested sufficient vaccine for 20 million of its residents to begin dosing. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration said the vaccine provides some protection after the first dose. The FDA also said it found no safety concerns with the vaccine thus far.
The agency has continued to go through every minute detail of the data submitted in the application, including reviewing all safety information “to make sure there are no cracks” and everything is “solid,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a voting member of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which is scheduled to review Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 10.
“I don’t know what data the U.K. was working with. I know when data is submitted to the FDA, it’s voluminous,” said Offit, also director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “When you talk about a 44,000-person trial, that’s a lot of clinical data.”
To give some idea of the magnitude of such an undertaking, Offit said when Merck submitted its data from its 70,000-person rotavirus vaccine trial, the pages that were created could have formed a hill that eclipsed the Sears Tower. “The point being: It’s a lot of data,” Offit said.
Apart from the vaccine rollout, investors and traders continue to monitor negotiations for more fiscal stimulus, as the number of U.S. coronavirus cases continues to mount.
“News out of DC that fiscal stimulus talks have resumed is also a positive development (though until a deal actually passes the President’s desk, this might be all hat, no cattle),” wrote Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. “These headlines come at a critical time as we remain in a challenging time from both a health and economic perspective.”
Investors and analysts are hoping for a new aid bill before the end of the year, with coronavirus spreading even faster, and U.S. employment growth continuing to decline.
“We’ve been hopeful for a while that a fiscal stimulus deal will get done,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at GLOBALT. “But there are still deep-seeded issues preventing” a deal from happening. Right now. the market is “treading water,” he said.
Currently, over 14.8 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The country’s daily infection rate, as a seven-day average, is also at an all-time high.
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