Stocks advance after J&J gives U.S. third approved vaccine against COVID-19
The three major averages rose between 2% to roughly 3% following news this weekend that J&J's one-shot vaccine was approved for emergency use by the FDA, giving the U.S. three vaccines available to continue the fight against COVID-19. Stability in bonds calmed a lot of nerves too, while the $1.9T recovery package was passed by the House. While the Senate still needs to approve a bill and may not go for what is on the table at its current size and composition, expectations continue to be that more government stimulus should be coming in relatively short order.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Markit's manufacturing PMI came in at 58.6 in the final February print, versus 58.5 in the preliminary and a 59.2 reading in January. The ISM manufacturing index increased 2.1 points to 60.8 in February, which was better than expected. Construction spending beat estimates with a 1.7% January rise.
Data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering shows there are now 114M confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including 28.6M in the U.S., and 2.5M deaths due to the disease, including 513,000 in the U.S.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) advanced fractionally after the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the third vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease. The EUA allows Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed in the U.S for use in individuals 18 years of age and older.
Shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) rose 3.7% after the company confirmed that investors Jeff Ubben and Mike Angelakis will be joining the energy company's board of directors. Darren Woods, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, said, "Michael and Jeff's expertise in capital allocation and strategy development has helped companies navigate complex transitions for the benefit of shareholders and broader stakeholders. Their contributions will be valued as ExxonMobil advances plans to increase shareholder value by responsibly providing needed energy while playing a leadership role in the energy transition."
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Morphic (MORF), which jumped 135% after the company announced "positive interim results" from its Phase 1 clinical trial of MORF-057, which is in development for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Also higher was DraftKings (DKNG), which gained 11.7% after a number of Wall Street analysts raised their price targets on the shares following the company's revenue beat and guidance hike on Friday.
Among the notable losers was Ontrak (OTRK), which dropped 46.3% after the company pre-announced fourth quarter results and said it was notified that its participation status with its largest customer "will be terminated effective June 26, 2021." Also lower was Athenex (ATNX), which fell 54.9% following news that the FDA issued a complete response letter for the company's New Drug Application for oral paclitaxel plus encequidar for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
INDEXES: The Dow added 603.14, or 1.95%, to 31,535.51, the Nasdaq gained 396.48, or 3.01%, to 13,588.83, and the S&P 500 advanced 90.67, or 2.38%, to 3,901.82.