Business & Economy

Dow Jones rockets to intraday high on Pfizer vaccine news, Biden win

By Nora Quintanilla

New York, Nov 9 (efe-epa).- Preliminary positive Covid-19 vaccine results announced Monday by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech sent Wall Street to a record intraday high.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their experimental vaccine against the coronavirus is showing an efficacy rate greater than 90 percent among people participating in clinical trials and without any evidence of prior infection, exceeding the required threshold established by US regulations and also company leaders’ expectations, and that news infused the Dow Jones Industrial Average with hope of an approaching return to “normality” for society and the economy, sending the Dow sharply higher during the day, although by the close of trading those gains had been pared somewhat.

The Dow hit an intraday high of 29,933.83, up some 1,610 points and grazing the 30,000 level before receding to 29,157.97 by the end of the day, for a net gain of 834.57 points, or 2.95 percent.

The S&P 500 was also up sharply on the day, gaining 1.17 percent to 3,551 but the NASDAQ ended in the red, losing 1.53 percent and closing at 11,714.

Pfizer and BioNTech have been the main Western firms to present the required efficacy figures to ensure distribution of their vaccine and, although these results could change by the time the clinical trials end, optimism prevails that the other treatments being developed by other companies will also be effective, thus creating a “tipping point” in the battle against the too-often-deadly disease that has infected some 10 million people in the US and killed more than 237,000.

Moderna is also expected to give similar results in the coming weeks for their vaccine, the development of which uses a similar technology to that being employed by Pfizer, while Johnson & Johnson should publish its one-dose vaccine results before the end of the year, Oanda analyst Edward Moya said.

Those hopes were reflected in the moves seen in those firms’ share prices on the day, with Pfizer up 7.7 percent, Moderna up by 7.3 percent and J&J up by 2.69 percent.

Pfizer’s announcement sparked heavy trading volume on Wall Street and traders reacted by buying stocks linked to a return to normality, including tourism and leisure stocks, and selling stocks that had benefited from the quarantines and confinement that have marked the coronavirus pandemic for the past six months or more, most particularly tech stocks, which is what sent the NASDAQ rather sharply lower.

Among the issues that rose most in price on Monday were companies like AMC (up 51 percent), cruise firm Carnival (up 39 percent), American Airlines (up 15 percent), MGM hotels (up 15 percent), concert organizer Live Nation (up 15 percent) and Walt Disney (up 12 percent)

Also moving higher were shares of big US banks, with JPMorgan up 13.5 percent, Bank of America up 14 percent and Citigroup up 11.5 percent.

On the other hand, videoconferencing company Zoom fell by 17 percent, Netflix was down 9 percent, Peloton was down 20 percent and e-commerce giant Amazon lost 5 percent after seeing surprising profits over the past six months.

But the market’s rise was due not only to the vaccine announcement but also to the fact that it was the first trading session after Joe Biden’s acknowledged presidential election win, according to projections by the country’s main media outlets on Saturday, although President Donald Trump so far has refused to concede or admit his defeat and analysts expect continued market volatility in the coming weeks.

The big international markets in Asia and Europe also registered significant gains on Monday due to the Pfizer/BioNTech announcement, the Biden election triumph and new positive economic data for China and Germany.

Among the European bourses, the Spanish market was up by 8.57 percent, its largest one-day up-move in the past 10-and-a-half years, and the Paris market gained 7.57 percent, the Euro Stoxx 50 index was up by 6.36 percent, the Milan market up by 5.43 percent, Frankfurt up by 4.94 percent and London up by 4.67 percent.

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