Coronavirus: Stock markets erupt to record highs after vaccine news

The blue-chip Dow surged as much as 5.7 percent.
The blue-chip Dow surged as much as 5.7 percent. Photo credit: Getty.

The S&P 500 and the Dow hit record highs on Monday as the first successful late-stage clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine sparked hopes of the economy emerging from a pandemic-driven crisis.

The blue-chip Dow surged as much as 5.7 percent, also getting a boost from Joe Biden clinching a tightly-fought presidential election.

The companies hit hardest by months of travel bans and lockdowns soared, with Boeing Co up 12.6 percent and airlines and cruise line operators  all trading 20 percent to 30 percent higher.

Oil prices surged more than 10 percent and US Treasuries sold off after Pfizer and BioNTech said the data showed the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

"This is extremely important and should give the market confidence that Pfizer's candidate offers a breakthrough in terms of reaching herd immunity at some point next year," said Robin Winkler, strategist at Deutsche Bank Research.

Pfizer and BioNTech, the first drugmakers to show successful data from a large-scale clinical trial, said they had found no serious safety concerns so far and expect to seek US emergency use authorization later this month.

By 10:21 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1,273.09 points, or 4.49 percent, and the S&P 500 was up 120.44 points, or 3.43 percent, while the Russell 2000 small-cap index surged 5.7 percent to an all-time high.

The S&P energy index was on course for its best day since April.

US banks including Citigroup Inc and Bank of America Corp, often seen as a proxy for the broader economy, jumped about 9 percent each, while oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp climbed about 10 percent.

By contrast, shares in technology and other companies seen as "stay-at-home" winners were lower or gaining less.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was up 211.01 points, or 1.77 percent, as Netflix Inc, Inc and gaming company Activision Blizzard Inc fell between 1.5 percent and 4.7 percent.

World stocks hit a record high earlier in the day and the dollar remained weak as expectations of better global trade ties and more monetary stimulus under President-elect Biden lifted demand for risky assets.

Treasury yields had fallen last week on expectations that Biden would win the White House but the Senate would be controlled by Republicans, potentially stifling a fiscal stimulus package and putting the onus back on the Federal Reserve.

Among other movers, McDonald's Corp gained about 1.0 percent after it beat third-quarter revenue and profit estimates, as US customers ordered more hamburgers and fries in drive-through outlets and on delivery apps.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 5.95-to-1 on the NYSE and 3.78-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 138 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 219 new highs and 11 new lows.