By Joe Wallace and Alexander Osipovich
U.S. stocks climbed Monday after promising results on a Covid-19
vaccine bolstered hopes for an economic rebound in 2021.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 327.79 points, or 1.1%, to
29591.27, getting the week off to a strong start after the
blue-chips index closed last week with losses.
The S&P 500 added 20.05 points, or 0.6%, to 3577.59. The
technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite ticked up 25.66 points, or 0.2%,
to close at 11880.63.
All three indexes rallied after the opening bell, then retreated
in choppy trading, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both dipping
briefly into negative territory, before surging again in the
The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was
found to be up to 90% effective in preventing infections, depending
on the dosage given, without serious side effects. The results --
based on a large trial -- 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. "There's a growing prospect of a significant
normalization of economic activity in the second half of next
year," he added.
Unlike shots under development from Pfizer and Moderna,
AstraZeneca's vaccine can be stored at temperatures above zero
degrees Celsius, potentially easing the distribution process.
Pfizer and partner BioNTech on Friday asked the Food and Drug
Administration to clear the companies' Covid-19 vaccine and said
distribution could potentially begin in mid-December.
Meanwhile, 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
In policy news, President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate
former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to become the next
Treasury secretary, The Wall Street Journal reported. Ms. Yellen
has voiced support for greater government spending to support the
Analysts worry the surge of Covid-19 cases could weigh on
economic growth in the coming months, especially as the impact of
stimulus programs enacted in the spring wears off.
"You've got Covid cases rising at an alarming rate in the U.S.
and Europe, and restrictions that look like they'll be harsher than
what we thought a month ago," said Christopher Smart, chief global
strategist at Barings.
He also warned coronavirus-fueled job losses in some sectors and
at smaller businesses could prove longer lasting than markets
expect. "Even as the vaccines start rolling out, there will still
be scars and damage that will slow the overall recovery," Mr. Smart
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
In Europe, where authorities have taken a more stringent
approach to stemming the second wave of coronavirus, restrictions
are already taking their toll on the economy. Business activity has
fallen so far this month, surveys of purchasing managers by IHS
Markit showed Monday, with a particularly steep decline in
Seven of the S&P 500's 11 sectors gained Monday, with the
economically sensitive energy and financial sectors posting the
biggest gains. Health care and real estate were among the sectors
that ended the day lower.
Energy stocks, which were badly hammered this year after
Covid-19 led to a sharp slowdown in travel and business activity,
got a boost from a rebound in the price of oil.
Brent crude futures rose 2.4% to $46.06 a barrel, the highest
settlement for the global oil benchmark since March. Crude prices
rose Monday on reports that Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi
Aramco distribution station in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Cruise-line stocks and airlines were among the winners from
Monday's vaccine news. Carnival gained 83 cents, or 4.8%, to
$18.20, while Royal Caribbean Group shares rose $3.20, or 4.4%, to
$75.78. Delta Air Lines climbed $1.66, or 4.5%, to $38.79.
AstraZeneca shares in London fell 3.8% 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 gained $3.42, or 3.5%, to $101.03. Pfizer
declined 18 cents, or 0.5%, to $36.52.
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.2%. Asian
markets were broadly higher, with China's Shanghai Composite Index
In government bonds, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes settled
at 0.857%, up from 0.828% Friday. Yields rise when bond prices
Write to Joe Wallace at Joe.Wallace@wsj.com and Alexander
Osipovich at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 23, 2020 16:43 ET (21:43 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.