Moderna Stock Pops on Vaccine; Dow Nears 30,000

Wall Street has been in a jubilant mood this month, and why shouldn’t it be? An election some expected to be contested for months is over, and in the last week alone two separate vaccine candidates have reportedly been shown to be more than 90% effective in late-stage trials.

The only bad news has been the course of the virus itself, which is agnostic to efforts to thwart it. The U.S. is experiencing the biggest spike in cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with the seven-day average for new infections now topping 152,000.

Spurred by the news of another effective vaccine, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at a new all-time closing high, adding 470 points, or 1.6%, to finish at 29,950.

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Moderna the newest vaccine hero. After last week’s announcement from Pfizer (ticker: PFE) that it and its German partner BioNTech ( BNTX) had developed a vaccine that was more than 90% effective, Moderna ( MRNA) hit the scene with a vaccine announcement of its own: The company claims to have a vaccine that’s more than 94% effective in late-stage trials.

MRNA stock jumped 9.6% on the news. Both vaccine candidates are two-shot doses and still need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But if all goes well, each company is projecting that doses of their vaccines can begin to be distributed by the end of 2020.

Carnival back on the up-and-up? One of the most frustratingly volatile stocks of 2020 continued to bounce around on Monday, adding 9.7% and finishing as one of the top three performers in the S&P 500.

Cruise line operator Carnival Corp. ( CCL) is, understandably, extremely sensitive to developments surrounding the pace of the pandemic, with the long-term health of its business largely contingent upon the dissipation of the pandemic and a mass willingness to return to the seas with other strangers in confined areas.

Airline stocks also rose on Monday for the same reasons, as a vastly expanded market of potential passengers began to look feasible following the positive vaccine news. American Airlines ( AAL), Delta Air Lines ( DAL), Southwest Airlines ( LUV) and United Airlines ( UAL) each rose between 3.9% and 5.2% on Monday.

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