S&P and Dow advance, Treasury yields soar on potential vaccine

Stephen Culp
·3 min read
The facade of the New York Stock Exchange is pictured in New York

S&P and Dow advance, Treasury yields soar on potential vaccine

The facade of the New York Stock Exchange is pictured in New York

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow indices followed world equity indexes higher and U.S. Treasury yields surged on Monday, as progress in the development of a coronavirus vaccine sparked a surge of optimism that the global economy will stage a solid recovery as life returns to normal,

A pivot away from tech and into value stocks pushed the bellwether S&P and Dow sharply higher, but they ended the session shy of record highs. Crude oil prices, meanwhile, had their best day in more than five months, jumping more than 8%.

Weakness in shares that benefited from pandemic-related restrictions, the so-called "stay-at-home" stocks, pulled the tech-heavy Nasdaq into the red.

Pfizer Inc said its COVID-19 vaccine, developed with German partner BioNTech SE, was more than 90% effective in preventing infection, marking the first successful results from a large-scale clinical trial.

"This is the closest we've been to the hopes that people have had since March that things will get back to the way they were," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. "You can throw all the stimulus at it you want but if people are afraid to go out to a movie theater or get on a plane it might not go anyway."

World stock markets got an early boost as global leaders welcomed the U.S. election results, congratulating President-elect Joe Biden even as incumbent Donald Trump refused to concede, vowing to challenge the result.

"You could call it an election relief rally," Nolte added. "Now we can move on to something else."

The CBOE Market Volatility index, a barometer of investor anxiety, hit its lowest closing level since late August.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 834.57 points, or 2.95%, to 29,157.97, the S&P 500 gained 41.06 points, or 1.17%, to 3,550.5 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 181.45 points, or 1.53%, to 11,713.78.

Pfizer's announcement gave a jolt to European shares, sending them to an eight-month high, building on expectations of more stable trade policies in the wake of Biden's victory.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 3.98% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.30%.

Emerging market stocks rose 1.36%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.92% higher, while Japan's Nikkei %.

The vaccine news sent long-dated U.S. Treasury yields sky-rocketing in their biggest one-day jump since March. The yield curve, an indication of risk appetite, hit its steepest level since March.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 33/32 in price to yield 0.9321%, from 0.82% late on Friday.

The 30-year bond last fell 90/32 in price to yield 1.7223%, from 1.598% late on Friday.

Oil prices surged, posting their biggest daily percentage gain in more than five months as the vaccine news and an OPEC output deal fueled optimism over rebounding demand.

U.S. crude rose 8.48% to settle at $40.29 per barrel and Brent settled at $42.40, up 7.48% on the day.

The prospect of a Biden presidency buoyed trade-related currencies on expectations of a thawing of the tariff war as the dollar index rose from a 10-week low.

The dollar index rose 0.68%, with the euro down 0.49% to $1.1814.

The Japanese yen weakened 1.93% versus the greenback to 105.39 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3161, up 0.04% on the day.

Gold prices slumped as investors pivoted away from the safe-haven metal in favor of riskier assets.

Spot gold dropped 4.3% to $1,867.41 an ounce.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Dan Grebler)