Stocks rally on hopes for vac­cine

Chicago Sun-Times - - BUSINESS - BY STAN CHOE AND DAMIAN J. TROISE AP Business Writ­ers

NEW YORK — Stocks plowed higher on Wall Street on Mon­day, as hopes for a COVID-19 treat­ment and vac­cine had in­vestors look­ing ahead to the pos­si­bil­ity of a health­ier econ­omy that has shed the virus.

The S&P 500 ral­lied 34.12, or 1%, to 3,431.28 and added to the all-time high it set last week, when it erased the last of its losses from the coro­n­avirus pan­demic. It fol­lowed up on solid gains for stock mar­kets across much of Europe and Asia.

The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age rose 378.13, or 1.4%, to 28,308.46, and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite added 67.92, or 0.6%, to 11,379.72.

Hope was ris­ing as phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies con­tinue to work to­ward a pos­si­ble vac­cine for COVID-19 and af­ter the U.S. gov­ern­ment on Sun­day ap­proved an emer­gency au­tho­riza­tion to al­low the use of con­va­les­cent plasma to treat pa­tients. The plasma comes from pa­tients who have re­cov­ered from the coro­n­avirus, and it may help peo­ple bat­tling the dis­ease, though global health of­fi­cials say the ther­apy is still ex­per­i­men­tal.

Such hopes helped in­vig­o­rate shares of in­dus­tries that have been badly beaten down by what’s be­come the new nor­mal of pan­demic life. Airlines climbed, for ex­am­ple, amid the pos­si­bil­ity that peo­ple may feel safe enough to travel again in the fu­ture. Delta Air Lines rose 9.3%, and Amer­i­can Airlines Group added 10.5%.

The mar­ket’s gains were rel­a­tively broad, and more than 80% of the stocks in the S&P 500 were higher. Fi­nan­cial com­pa­nies, en­ergy pro­duc­ers and other ar­eas of the mar­ket closely tied to the econ­omy’s strength helped lead the way.

The moves come as in­vestors hope the virus’ spread con­tin­ues to slow and the econ­omy con­tin­ues to im­prove, said Keith Buchanan, port­fo­lio man­ager at Glob­alt In­vest­ments.

“We’re just mak­ing sure that the trends we’ve seen as of late from the virus con­tinue to ma­te­ri­al­ize,” he said. “We want to start to see mar­ginal, steady im­prove­ment.”

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