Wall Street opens in celebratory mode on vaccine news

About 30 minutes into the first trading session of the week, all three major indices had jumped about 1.7 per cent. — AFP pic
About 30 minutes into the first trading session of the week, all three major indices had jumped about 1.7 per cent. — AFP pic

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NEW YORK, March 1 — US stocks leapt higher in early trading today, starting the week on a celebratory note following news a third Covid-19 vaccine will be in American arms soon.

About 30 minutes into the first trading session of the week, all three major indices had jumped about 1.7 per cent: the Dow Jones Industrial Average to 31,459.94, the broad-based S&P 500 to 3,874.78, and the tech-dominated Nasdaq Composite Index to 13,413.58.

Amid the world’s worst coronavirus pandemic, US regulators on Saturday approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine, and the House of Representatives approved President Biden’s US$1.9 trillion (RM7.7 trillion) economic relief package, sending the bill to the Senate for final consideration.

The good news on both fronts fuelled the rebound after a bleak few days where investors stressed about signs that inflation could ignite and oblige the Federal Reserve to raise borrowing costs, despite repeated assurances that central bankers have no intention of reacting quickly to expected price increases.

Patrick J O’Hare of Briefing.com called it a “cookie-cutter rally.”

“There isn’t any real negative story line in the news mix. Alas, the absence of bad news to start the week, following a week that was bad for the stock market, has created an opening to buy the weakness — and that’s what the faithful are doing,” he said in an analysis.

Economic data may add to the good feelings. The closely-watched ISM manufacturing survey showed the sector continues to gain traction, as the PMI index jumped 2.1 per centage points to 60.8 per cent.

Markets will be looking out for the key government employment report for February due out Friday.

Boeing shares surged 6.6 per cent on word United Airlines had ordered 25 more 737 MAX aircraft. United gained 5.3 per cent. — AFP

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