Stock Market News for Nov 17, 2020

Wall Street closed sharply higher on Monday buoyed by positive developments on coronavirus treatment front. Hopes for a vaccine in near future significantly strengthened market participants’ confidence on risky assets like equities. All the three major stock indexes ended in green.

How Did The Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) jumped 1.6% or 470.63 points to close at 29,952.22. This was the blue-chip index’s fresh highest closing since Feb 12. During intraday trading, the index recorded a new all-time high at 29.964.29 for the first time since Nov 9. Notably, 26 components of the 30-stock index ended in the green while four in red.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 surged 1.2% to end at 3,626.91, recording its 24th all-time high close so far this year. The index is 0.5% away to reach its all-time high recorded on Nov 9. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE), the Financials Select Sector SPDR (XLF) and the Industrials Select Sector SPDR (XLI) rallied 6.6%, 2.2% and 2.4%, respectively. Notably, all eleven sectors of the benchmark index closed in green.

Moreover, the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite finished at 11,924.13, gaining 0.8% due to a bounce back by technology stocks. The tech-heavy  index is 1.5% away to reach its all-time high recorded on Nov 9. Additionally, the small-cap centric Russell 2000 Index soared 2.1% to close at 1,785.34.

On Nov 13, the Russell 2000 registered  afresh all-time high since August 2018 and on Nov 16, the index posted another fresh all-time high. For the first time since Jan 22, 2018, the Dow, S&P 500 and Russell 2000 each registered new closing records on the same day.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 2.8% to 22.45. A total of 10.9 billion shares were traded on Monday, higher than the last 20-session average of 10.21 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 4.66-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 2.55-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.

Positive Developments on COVID-19 Vaccine Front

On Nov 16, Moderna Inc. (MRNA – Free Report) reported that the preliminary phase III clinical trial data revealed its potential coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing COVID-19. The clinical phase III trial included 30,000 patients.

The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases observed 90 cases of COVID-19 were in the placebo group compared with five cases in the group that received its two-dose vaccine. Moderna is planning submit for Emergency Use Authorization to the FDA if safety milestones are achieved.

On Nov 16, shares of Moderna rallied 9.6%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

On Nov 9, Pfizer Inc. (PFE – Free Report) and BioNTech SE (BNTX – Free Report) announced that their jointly developed potential vaccine BNT162b2 was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in trial participants with no previous evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

By the third week of this month, more clinical trial data will be available to determine whether this candidate has achieved the safety milestones. The companies are planning to submit for Emergency Use Authorization to the FDA if safety milestones are achieved.  Moreover, On Nov 10, The FDA has granted emergency authorization of a Covid-19 antibody treatment made by Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY – Free Report) .

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