Vaccine Hopes Boost Stock Index ETFs | ETF Trends

Stocks and index ETFs are mixed again on Tuesday, but the S&P 500 advanced to new highs, putting the index within spitting distance of a fresh all-time high, even as technology stocks continue to languish. Investors are optimistic about the economy progressing and are rotating into companies that could benefit from reopening of the economy and the discovery of a vaccine, such as travel and leisure stocks.

The S&P 500 added 0.5% and was within 1% of reaching its Feb. 19 record of 3,393.52 before dropping back, while bonds tumbled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also gained as much as 268 points, or 1% before paring its advance. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite continued to languish, slipping 0.3%.

Stock index ETFs are trading mixed along with their underlying benchmarks. The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA), SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) are both higher Tuesday, while the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) is slipping again, as tech shares struggled.

“A concern in the market has been that you’re seeing it becoming tighter and tighter,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. This rotation “helps the overall health of the market. That’s what’s important now and what’s needed.”

Investors were cautiously optimistic, however, to discover that local news agencies reported Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the country had approved for the world’s first coronavirus vaccine.

The race for a vaccine continues in the U.S. as well, where Johnson & Johnson executive also told Reuters the company could generate 1 billion doses of its vaccine, given that the trials are a success. Investors looking to invest in biotech and a potential vaccine can look into ETFs like the ALPS Medical Breakthroughs ETF (SBIO), which is higher in a trade Tuesday.

“Markets are looking forward to better days ahead,” Jeff Buchbinder, equity strategist at LPL Financial, said in a note. “Although the timing is uncertain, the stock market is expressing confidence that the pandemic will end eventually with a vaccine—or multiple vaccines—and with help from better treatments in the interim.”

Meanwhile, optimism over the reopening of the country boosted the shares of companies that would benefit most from a vaccine such as airlines and cruise companies. American Airlines advanced 6.5%, while Norwegian Cruise Lines rallied 6.5%. The U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) advanced as well, climbing almost 3.5% amid the news.

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