Stock ETFs Trade Mixed Despite Encouraging Vaccine Developments

Stock indexes and ETFs are mixed on Wednesday, as investors contemplated sanguine news concerning a coronavirus vaccine.

Stock indices are attempting to recover gains made on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 120 points, or 0.41%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are both treading water near breakeven on Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1%, under pressure from Big Tech stocks.

The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) is in the green this morning, while the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) and SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) declined slightly.

After helping to propel the market to new heights on Monday, Pfizer revealed the final data on its vaccine candidate with BioNTech, which turned out even better than the initial data, beating Moderna’s recent report. Pfizer and BioNTech claimed that their vaccine was 95% effective in preventing coronavirus, noting that they will submit an application for emergency use authorization “within days.”

The news helped lift the Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X ETF (NYSEArca: LABU), which advanced over 1% on Wednesday. Investors and analysts are now increasingly optimistic about the economy recovering.

“The vaccine announcement has moved the conversation about a return to normal from ‘if’ to ‘when,’” said Bill Callahan, investment strategist at Schroders. “What is most important is that the vaccine announcement removed some of the long term uncertainty, which had kept investors cautious.”

On Tuesday the Dow dropped over 150 points, while the S&P 500 relinquished 0.5%. The Nasdaq slipped 0.2% meanwhile, after news that Tesla will join the S&P 500, driving the stock higher as a result.

November has been a robust month for stocks so far, largely due to vaccine developments. The Dow has added over 12% and the S&P 500 climbed more than 10% in November. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 9% as investors rotated into stocks that would benefit from reopening.

“For the most part, the economy has been recovering faster than many expected, as consumer spending has held up quite well throughout the crisis,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management, said in a note. “Much of this can be seen through consumer spending habits, where the pandemic has caused consumers to shift spending away from service-oriented products and into to more goods-related products.”

“While this has been beneficial to the economy overall, it has created a bifurcated recovery, as some sectors of the economy continue to be extremely depressed,” he added.

There is still reason for caution however, with coronavirus cases spiking daily, and a number of states shutting down or restricting businesses once again. The U.S. is showing approximately 157,000 new Covid-19 infections per day, on average as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins data, marking historic levels and a nearly 30% increase from infection levels last week.

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