The stock market is surging at the start of the trading week as investors cheered on promising data on a COVID-19 vaccine and the highly anticipated results of the United States presidential election.
At market open on Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 5%, or 1,500 points, while the S&P 500 grew 3.8%, or 133 points, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1%, or 118 points. (As of 2:30 p.m. ET, the Dow remained in the green nearly 1,300 points to 29,572; the S&P 500 was up 93 points to 3,602; and the Nasdaq gained 11 points to 11,908.)
Wall Street expressed optimism on a vaccine that might be able to control the novel coronavirus, which has decimated businesses across the country and led to the deaths of more than 237,500 people in the U.S. alone.
This morning, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and biotechnology firm BioNTech announced that their vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. An interim analysis of their clinical trial looked at the first 94 confirmed cases of the virus among more than 43,000 volunteers, who got either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo. It found that under 10% of infections were in participants who were given the vaccine and more than 90% of COVID-19 cases were in people who received the placebo.
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Stocks, however, were already set to continue their post-election rally. Monday marked the first trading day since former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the victor of the 2020 presidential election against incumbent President Donald Trump. The historic win also saw Kamala Harris become the first Black and the first South Asian Vice President-elect.
As Biden and Harris prepare to be sworn into office in January, market watchers will have their eyes on another fiscal stimulus bill to boost the ailing U.S. economy, the new White House’s approach to trade and other key issues. It comes at a challenging time for the American workforce: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers added a total of 638,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.9%. A surge in COVID-19 cases in certain parts of the country could lead state and local governments to impose renewed lockdowns that would force nonessential businesses to once again shutter their doors to the public and put more workers out of jobs.