Dow Surges and Sets Record High on Pfizer Vaccine Progress

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Stocks skyrocket after Pfizer announces its coronavirus drug candidate being developed with partner BioNTech prevented more than 90% of infections in a large study.

Stocks skyrocketed Monday after Pfizer  (PFE) – Get Report announced its coronavirus drug candidate being developed with partner BioNTech  (BNTX) – Get Report prevented more than 90% of infections in a large study.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1,175 points, or 4.15%, to 29,498, the S&P 500 soared 2.88% and the Nasdaq rose 0.65%.

The Dow and S&P 500 set all-time intraday highs during the session.

Pfizer shares jumped 8.91% to $39.65 after the drug giant reported on the vaccine’s effectiveness in late-stage trials and said it plans to seek emergency use authorization from U.S. health officials later this month.

Pfizer said it saw no serious safety concerns from its ongoing trial, and expects to have as many as 1.3 billion doses produced next year if and when the drug is ultimately approved by regulators. In the interim, Pfizer said it would seek emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration in late November.

The company’s Phase III trial should be concluded in early December. The 90% efficacy rate, Pfizer said, was identified from 94 confirmed cases who received two doses of the vaccine.

Pfizer Says Coronavirus Vaccine Is 90% Effective

Stocks also were buoyed by Joe Biden being declared the winner of the presidential election over the weekend and as the president-elect began outlining his plans for when he takes offices in January.

Biden promised that on his first day as president he would tackle the coronavirus pandemic that has now claimed the lives of nearly 238,000 Americans and infected almost 10 million. New daily case counts were topping 125,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In creating a new, science-based task-force and seven-point plan to tackle the outbreak, President-elect Biden said he would “spare no effort” to “turn around this pandemic” in order to get the struggling U.S. economy back on track.

Most on Wall Street expect a Biden presidency and a Senate still controlled by Republicans would allow for a continuation of the pro-business policies of the Trump administration and taming of Biden’s spending ambitions.

“Last week was stellar for the markets and while pullbacks are typical after such momentum, the bull market has a ton of ammunition to keep going,” said Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investing product at E*Trade. “With more certainty around the election, a strong quarter of earnings across many sectors, and extremely positive news on the vaccine front, there is little to hold us back. 

“Keep in mind that when you remove the virus from the equation, we are set up tremendously well for growth given the unprecedented easy money policies of the (Federal Reserve). Traders are no doubt plotting their next move, and while gridlock in Washington could mean more of the same, they may see opportunity in industries effected by Biden’s initiatives, like energy and healthcare,” Larkin added.

President Donald Trump has vowed to challenge the election results, marshaling a small legal team to pursue allegations of voter fraud while demanding recounts in Georgia and Wisconsin. Little, if any, credible evidence of large-scale voter fraud has emerged, however.