Dow sets a new all-time high, closing at 29,551
The Dow is setting new records—and closing in on 30,000.
The index soared to a new all-time high Monday, closing fewer than 500 points below 30,000, for a gain of 4.9% YDT. The S&P 500 also closed at new high of $3,627, up 12.7% YTD. The Nasdaq Composite closed at $11,924, up 32.9% YTD, but 1.1% below its all time high set on September 2.
The biggest driver behind today’s gains was news from biotech Moderna that its COVID vaccine has proved 94.5% effective in early trials. That follows last week’s news that Pfizer’s vaccine candidate was 90% effective.
According to Bloomberg, Moderna’s “vaccine also appeared to be effective in preventing the most serious Covid-19 infections. There were no severe cases among people who got the vaccine, compared with 11 in volunteers who received placebo shots, according to Moderna’s statement. ‘The thing that got me the most excited today was the severe disease,” Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said in an interview. “That for me is a game-changer.'”
Moderna stock also closed at all-time high of $97.95, up 9.6% today. So far this year the stock is up a staggering 400.8%. Pfizer, which saw big gains last week, was down 3.34% today on the Moderna news. Another big winner was Tesla, which will be joining the S&P 500 as of December 21, according to an announcement Monday afternoon from the S&P 500 Index Committee. Speculation had swirled about the company’s inclusion since it had posted four quarters of profits, which is a must for possible inclusion, but does not guarantee a company will be added.
More broadly, Monday’s positive vaccine news led to a further rotation out of some of the names that have thrived during COVID. JP Morgan analysts recently released a list of 25 stocks they see as “short” candidates as a vaccine nears. “This is a list of stocks that are in the upper echelon of Momentum and have crowded positioning, that could see the second derivative of their profit growth decrease as consumer/corporate activity normalizes,” the analysts wrote of the list, which included names such as Zoom, Peloton, Costco, Clorox, Yeti and BigLots.
But the exuberance in the stock market while the pandemic rages across the country has led to a sense that something is out of whack. As Fortune‘s Lance Lambert reported, “While GDP is seeing something closer to a V-shaped recovery—bouncing back nearly as fast as it fell—that isn’t the case for U.S. employment. The U.S. added 638,000 jobs in October. If that pace were to continue, it would take over 16 months—into 2022—to recover all the jobs lost during the COVID-19 recession. And that’s not even the bad news. Most economists actually expect that pace of hiring to slow further, meaning a full employment recovery could take until 2023 or longer.”