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US stocks surge on COVID-19 vaccine progress

US stocks surge on COVID-19 vaccine progress

The Wall Street sign is pictured at the New York Stock exchange (NYSE) in the Manhattan borough of New York City. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks rocketed higher Monday following positive news on the first clinical tests of a coronavirus vaccine, lifting shares of airlines, hotels and other beaten-down sectors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 911.95 points (3.85 per cent) to 24,597.37.

The broad-based S&P 500 jumped 90.21 points (3.15 per cent) to 2,953.91, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 220.27 points (2.44 per cent) to 9,234.83.

The rally followed a press release from US biotech firm Moderna that reported "positive interim" results in the phase 1 test of a vaccine candidate. A Phase 3 trial, the largest and most important to validate the efficacy of a vaccine, should begin in July.

READ: COVID-19: US drugmaker reports promising early results from vaccine test

Shares of Moderna shot up 20 per cent.

Briefing.com said "caution" was needed given that the testing is still so preliminary, but added that "today's news is a key step to getting back to normal."

Moderna's announcement lifted the market generally, but had an especially beneficial impact on companies in travel, entertainment and other sectors that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 shutdown.

This group included United Airlines, up 21.1 per cent, Marriott International, up 17.4 billion, live events company Live Nation, up 15.3 per cent and shopping mall owner Simon Property Group, up 10.9 per cent.

Analysts said there were some secondary factors that supported stocks, including the steps by more states in the US to reopen their economies and a broadcast interview with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who said the economic downturn would not be as bad as the Great Depression.

Among other stocks, Uber Technologies rose 3.6 per cent as it announced it is cutting a quarter of its global workforce to survive the financial hit to its business from the coronavirus pandemic, impacting around 3,000 employees.

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Source: AFP/de

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