Dow hits new record, nears 30,000 mark on Moderna vaccine hopes

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The Dow hit a fresh record — rising to within spitting distance of the 30,000 mark — amid fresh optimism on Wall Street about a COVID-19 vaccine with the potential to end the deadly pandemic.

The Dow Jones industrial average surged as much as 463.07 points, or nearly 1.6 percent, to an all-time intraday high of 29,942.88 after biotech firm Moderna said its COVID-19 shot was nearly 95 percent effective, making it the second candidate to show promising results from a late-stage clinical trial.

That put the blue-chip index on pace to end the day above the all-time closing high of 29,551.42 set in February, before the pandemic hit the US. The Dow was recently up 401.51 points, or about 1.4 percent, at 29,881.32.

The benchmark S&P 500 jumped nearly 1.2 percent to a peak of 3,627.17 as it eyed its second closing record in as many trading sessions. The tech-heavy Nasdaq lagged but still managed to climb as much as 0.9 percent.

“The virus itself continues to wreak havoc, but the market is continuing to look past all this towards a time when nations are engaged in widespread vaccination programs,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.

Monday’s rally was more muted than the one sparked a week ago by by Pfizer’s announcement that its experimental vaccine was more than 90 percent effective, which sent the Dow up more than 800 points and drove all three major indexes to new intraday records.

But Moderna’s announcement was still hugely important to the market because Americans will likely get inoculated more quickly with two highly effective vaccines in the pipeline rather than just one, which could speed up the economy’s return to normalcy, according to Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group.

Pfizer and Moderna have said they could seek emergency clearance for the shots in the US as soon as this month, and both companies plan to have millions of doses ready by the end of the year.

“It’s a different situation this morning than it was,” Paulsen told The Post. “The window of COVID’s life becomes shorter and shorter with every new announcement.”

Investors on Monday continued to sell big tech stocks that have benefitted from virus-related lockdowns — such as Amazon, Netflix and Zoom — and buy into companies that will likely rely on a vaccine to get their businesses moving again.

Those include major airlines like United, American and Delta, which each jumped more than 5 percent at their Monday peaks, and entertainment giants such as Disney, which rose as much as 3.8 percent.

“As we hear more positive news on the COVID-19 vaccine, the overblown work-from-home trade is beginning to unwind because some of those stocks had baked in no vaccine at all,” said David Trainer, CEO of investment research firm New Constructs. “The rotation into value stocks that started last week will continue.”

A Global Asset Management Seoul Korea Magazine

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