Just as it looked as though the nation was rounding the curve on the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears as though a second wave is hitting the country. Records were broken recently as the U.S. surpassed 160,000 cases in a single day and reached 11 million total cases for the first time since the pandemic began. The virus has shown no signs of slowing down and hospital rooms are starting to fill up once again, creating distress and increasing the uncertainty of the future. At first, this second wave had negative implications for the stock market. However, in the past two weeks, two different trials reported positive results on their analyses regarding a COVID-19 vaccine. This news has sent the stock market soaring on the expectations that the second wave of the coronavirus may be somewhat contained and that a vaccine may be available in the near future.
On November 9th, Pfizer and BioNTech made an announcement stating their vaccine was 90% effective in their latest clinical trials. As this would be a huge boost to world health, the news sent all three major indices, NASDAQ, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the S&P 500, surging to levels that haven’t been seen since the pandemic began. While the Nasdaq closed the day in the red, the Dow Jones ended the day with a gain of 835 points while the S&P 500 closed up 1.2%.
The following Monday, Moderna proceeded to announce that trials showed their vaccine was 94.5% effective at preventing illness associated with the coronavirus. Already propped up from the positive vaccine news from the previous week, markets reached new record highs. The Dow closed up 1.6%, the S&P 500 again finished up 1.2%, and the NASDAQ ended 0.8% higher.
The vaccine news appears to have come at the perfect time as the number of cases in the U.S. has reached record highs, both for U.S. markets and for world health in general. Moderna’s announcement is expected to solidify the rally related to Pfizer and BioNTech’s announcement last week. According to Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Advisors, the “vaccine news should make investors more tolerant of the surging virus cases, permitting them to look through to the strong dynamics that seem to be taking shape for 2021.” As sustainable economic recovery is still a concern among many, this positive news regarding two potential COVID-19 vaccines is exactly what the country needed to send U.S. markets to new highs.