Stocks and futures jump on AstraZeneca’s vaccine breakthrough. Here are the big winners

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Good morning. It’s a Monday, which means a fresh batch of COVID vaccine news jolting the markets. This time it comes from team Britain—AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Their latest trials show impressive results, or so the markets believe. Stocks in Asia and Europe are up, and U.S. futures are in the green.

The vaccine can’t come soon enough. The U.S. COVID numbers are frightening (but that’s hardly stopping travelers from getting onto planes to see grandma).

Let’s check in on the action.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mixed in afternoon trading with Japan’s Nikkei down 0.4% and the Shanghai Composite up 1.1%.
  • The Trump Administration has drawn up a list of 89 companies, mostly in aerospace, that would be banned from doing most forms of business with U.S. companies, Reuters reports.
  • An air travel “bubble” linking Hong Kong and Singapore popped this weekend as COVID cases climbed in Hong Kong, putting on hold this unique travel model that was being watched the world over.


  • The European bourses are in the green out of the gates with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.6% an hour into the trading session.
  • Shares in AstraZeneca were down 1.7% in early trade after the drug maker reported—along with its partner, Oxford University—that its COVID vaccine trials are effective as much as 90% of the time. Those are impressive results, even if they fall a tad short of last week’s Pfizer-BioNTech results. But there are big advantages on storage and price.
  • The pronouncement is lifting beaten-down travel, energy and bank stocks with the Euro Stoxx Banks index up 2% and Stoxx Europe 600 Travel & Leisure up 1%. Food delivery stocks, meanwhile, sank on the news.


  • U.S. futures point to a positive open, helped by the AstraZeneca news. That’s after the Dow (-0.7%) and S&P 500 (-0.8%) posted weekly declines last week.
  • November is the cruelest month: with more than 3 million cases since Nov. 1, the number of new COVID infections reported in America this month is well on its way to more than doubling the October case load, the previous record.
  • As we head into Thanksgiving week, with the markets hovering near all-time highs, there’s plenty to be thankful for. But please give a thought to the millions who are struggling as America’s K-shaped recovery trudges on. What’s a K-shaped recovery? Fortune‘s Lance Lambert breaks down the numbers.


  • Gold is down, trading below $1,870/ounce.
  • The dollar is down.
  • Crude is up, with Brent futures trading above $46/barrel.
  • Bitcoin is up, trading above $18,500.


Year-end, and beyond

Goldman Sachs earlier this month delivered a series of outlooks for stocks, including its year-end call and its 2021 year-end price.

And, according to Goldman, a fair number of investors were unimpressed with these forecasts. Meanwhile, another group thought they were being far too bullish.

Recap: Goldman calculates the S&P 500 will close this year at 3,700, up roughly 4% from the Friday close. As for 2021, it will rise a further 16% to top 4,300.

I’m posting here again the Goldman chart that spells out their vision of the next year, and beyond.

A 4,300 year-end 2021 close assumes a 21% gain from the Friday close. That’s not shabby.

And yet, there’s plenty of disagreement.

“Those who believe we are too bullish generally point to the risk of rising inflation and interest rates,” David J. Kostin’s team at Goldman writes. “However, we see little reason to expect much higher inflation in the next few years, and our economists believe the Fed will remain on hold until 2025.”

And what about the porridge-too-cold crowd?

“Investors who think we are too cautious point to the continued strong growth of the mega-cap FAAMG stocks along with a likely ‘catch-up’ of the other 495 S&P 500 constituents,” Goldman writes. “Investors have also focused on TSLA, which is set to join the S&P 500 next month and could rank as the 8th largest index constituent.”

Last week was an interesting test for the Goldman call on stocks. We started the week with blockbuster Pfizer vaccine news, which pushed the Dow and S&P to all-time highs. Grim COVID data then pushed stocks down, and we finished the week in the red.

Again today we start the week with the promising AstraZeneca vaccine trial news, lifting the markets. But it’s not a broad-based rally. There are winners and losers as investors rotate out of growth and into value stocks.

Whether that rotation trade will be enough to push stocks up a further 20-plus-percent over the next 14 months is the big question.



A programming note: due to the Thanksgiving holiday later this week, Bull Sheet will publish Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but will be off on Thursday and Friday.


Have a nice day, everyone. I’ll see you here tomorrow. 

Bernhard Warner

As always, you can write to or reply to this email with suggestions and feedback.

Today's reads

Banking on bank stocks. It's been a Jekyll and Hyde kind of year for bank stocks—more the latter, unfortunately. And November has been a particularly topsy turvy month, with the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index experiencing one of its worst days (Nov. 4) and one of its best days ever (Nov.9) just a few days apart, the Wall Street Journal reports. The prevailing wisdom is that a clutch of bank stocks will benefit from an improving economy in 2021. As such, we've seen the KBW bank index jump 15% since a string of promising vaccine breakthroughs were reported.

Good companies, better returns. Here's a data point for all you ESG bulls: "From that severest point [of the March markets downturn] through October, sustainable funds and ESG funds took in $30.5 billion in new flows. By the summer, we had taken in more in that category than in all of 2019. And that 2019 number was four times the previous year," details Josh Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management. Brown and four other heavyweights of the investment world took part in the Fortune Investor Roundtable discussion moderated by Fortune's Matt Heimer. They covered a lot of important ground on what to look for in the year ahead; I'll be plugging bits and pieces the whole week here.

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Market candy

21 stocks for 2021

Each year, Fortune's crack finance team assembles a list of stocks to put on your must-buy list. (Last year's batch outperformed the markets in impressive fashion). And what about this year? Drum roll...Here's our 21 stocks to buy for 2021, a list that includes international and U.S. stocks—some that will be completely familiar to you, and a bunch more that may surprise. It's all part of our annual Fortune Investors Guide.

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