Solid gains for stocks as investors cheer FDA approval of Pfizer Covid vaccination

S&P and NASDAQ close at record levels

The US major indices had a solid gains today led by the NASDAQ index which increased 1.54%. The Russell 2000 also had a solid gain of near 1.9%.

The gains were help by the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer Covid vaccination. The hope is that those who have remained unvaccinated will be encouraged to get vaccinated now, and also that businesses and local governments, etc. will start to force workers to get the approved Pfizer vaccination.
  • NASDAQ closed at a record high
  • the S&P and NASDAQ hit new all-time intraday record levels. The S&P could not stay above its previous record closing level.
  • Dow is up for the second straight day
  • NASDAQ and S&P client for the third straight day
the final numbers are showing:
  • Dow up 215 points or 0.61% at 35335.71
  • S&P index up 37.84 points or 0.85% at 4479.51
  • NASDAQ index up 228 points or 1.55% at 14942.65
  • Russell 2000 up 40.70 points or 1.88% at 2208.30

FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer covid vaccine on Monday

Full approval could aid with vaccine hesitancy

Full approval could aid with vaccine hesitancy
A common refrain for US anti-vaxxers is that they want full FDA approval before getting the vaccine. Whether that’s a real reason or flimsy excuse will be put to the test in the near future as the New York Times reports the agency is planning to give full approval on Monday.
More importantly, full approval will give cover to many public and private employers and organizations for vaccine mandates. If approved next week, it will be interesting to see if there’s a tipping point as schools and companies tell workers to get the vaccine or get a new job.

Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine will not be ready until 2021

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel statements on Wednesday, carried in the Financial Times overnight ICYMI.

  • will not seek emergency authorization for Food and Drug Administration approval for its vaccine to use in frontline medical workers and at-risk individuals until Nov. 25 at the earliest.
  • company would not seek FDA approval for use in the general population until late January
  • If the vaccine is proven safe and effective, approval is unlikely to come until at least late March or early April
Link to FT, may be gated.

AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine – study put on hold due to suspected adverse reaction in trial participant

The Phase 3 study testing the AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine has been put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in a participant in the United Kingdom.

Spokesperson for AstraZeneca
  • standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data
  • “a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.”
Risk negative, but so far little response. Eyes on the tech rout still. Globex equity index future trade reopens at the top of this hour.

ICYMI: Scientists question results from a study of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine

Taking a detour from the tech stock rout for just a moment, this on the much-touted Russian COVID-19 vaccine.

Via Bloomberg.
A group of international scientists say some of the published findings that appeared in the Lancet appeared improbable.
  • flagged concerns over seemingly identical levels of antibodies in a number of study participants who were inoculated with the experimental vaccine
  • This and other patterns in the data present “several different points of concern”
The link above has more. Is anyone surprised by this?
Taking a detour from the tech stock rout for just a moment, this on the much-touted Russian COVID-19 vaccine.

Fauci says COVID-19 vaccine could be available earlier if clinical trials overwhelmingly positive

Dr. Anthony Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, interview.

  • Referring to two ongoing clinical trials of 30,000 volunteers are expected to conclude by the end of the year
Fauci said an independent board has the authority to end the trials weeks early if interim results are overwhelmingly positive or negative.

  • Data and Safety Monitoring Board could say, “‘The data is so good right now that you can say it’s safe and effective,'” Fauci said. In that case, researchers would have “a moral obligation” to end the trial early and make the active vaccine available to everyone in the study, including those who had been given placebos – and accelerate the process to give the vaccine to millions.
Here is the link to the piece for more.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, interview. 

China health official says China has officially launched emergency use of COVID19 vaccines

Coronavirus weekend news – Chinese media, Global Times, reports via Twitter that an official at the country’s National Health Commission:

  • says China has officially launched emergency use of a vaccine
  • the vaccine has been in clinical trial since July 22
GT also report on a more than 20,000 person phase III clinical trial in the UAE of Sinopharm’s COVID19 vaccine
  • has shown a high level of safety
  • efficacy is currently under observation
Coronavirus weekend news - Chinese media, Global Times, reports via Twitter that an official at the country's National Health Commission:
Both of the GT items are tweets only, not accompanied by further articles for more information.
There is one more that is accompanied by an article – saying that China’s first recombinant protein COVID-19 vaccine made from insect cells has been approved for clinical trials by the National Medical Products Administration.
  • vaccine is being developed by the State Key Laboratory of Biological Therapy of Sichuan University affiliated West China Hospital
  • vaccine uses insect cells to multiply in the culture medium and introduces the gene of COVID-19 into insect cells, which means the cell can be used as a factory to produce high-quality recombinant vaccine proteins and purify them for refinement.
  • vaccine was tested on monkeys and other animals, and was found to have a good protective effect against COVID-19 infection, with no obvious side effects
Given the history of how markets view vaccine news (generally positively) this threefer from the GT might be a boost for sentiment on Monday. There is still plenty of time left over the weekend for less than favourable stories to develop, stay tuned.

Russia to publish coronavirus vaccine trials data in the coming days – local media

TASS reports on the matter, citing the Russian health minister

There is plenty of skepticism surrounding Russia’s coronavirus “vaccine”, as there isn’t any solid evidence presented as of yet besides backing from the government and Putin.
Reports that the country’s leading respiratory doctor has quit the health ministry’s ethics council because of the vaccine endorsement also raises more questions.
But considering how much reputation and political risk is at stake, you can bet that these clinical trials data will be supportive of what Putin has touted so far.
As for the truth of the situation, it is debatable but I’m not buying into the story thus far. But markets may run on anything these days, so that is something we have to accept.

Russia says first batch of coronavirus vaccine expected within two weeks

The vaccine clinical test results will also be published in that time frame

This according to Russian health minister, Mikhail Murashko. On the headline, I reckon he is referring to mass production. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out over the coming months and how it will impact other countries to produce “breakthroughs”.


Meanwhile, the country itself just reported another 5,102 new virus cases and that sees the total confirmed cases exceeding 900,000 (~180,000 active cases). Another 129 deaths were also reported, bringing the tally on that front to 15,260 persons.
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