- Futures on the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones rise towards intraday highs, after drugmaker Moderna says its COVID-19 trial vaccine proved to be 94.5% effective.
- Crude oil futures rally by more than 3%, while technology stocks and gold fell and Treasury yields held steady.
- Moderna said its product can be stored for a month at typical fridge temperatures, solidifying optimism that started last week with rival pharma group Pfizer’s announcement of a promising vaccine candidate.
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US stock futures jumped on Monday, after drugmaker Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine candidate had achieved 94.5% efficacy, solidifying optimism that a means of controlling the virus may soon be in hand.
The finding comes from a 30,000-person study that compared volunteers who got a two-dose regimen of Moderna’s shot to ones who got a placebo. The vaccine was shown to be 94.5% effective in a preliminary analysis.
Futures on the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones rose by 1.4-1.8% to trade around session highs, while those on the technology-heavy Nasdaq 100, which contains many of the beneficiaries of the work-from-home economy that the pandemic created, surrendered initial gains and fell 0.1%
Small-cap stocks looked set for a bigger jump at the start of regular trade later. Futures on the Russell 2000 index were last up 2.6%. Many of these are highly exposed to the underlying economy and could profit first from the roll-out of an effective vaccine.
Moderna shares traded as much as 9% higher in pre-market trading, while those in healthcare rivals Pfizer and AstraZeneca fell 1-1.8%. Shares in Johnson & Johnson rose around 1.4% in premarket trading.
Moderna’s vaccine has one crucial advantage over Pfizer’s shot. It can be stored for a month at typical fridge temperatures (36 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit), while Pfizer’s shot needs to be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit, requiring dry ice and special containers.
“Vaccine-related headlines will dominate the news cycle between now and year-end. Positive news should be supportive for risk appetite (so, by extension, USD negative),” BMO Capital Markets head of European FX strategy Stephen Gallo said in a note.
The dollar fell broadly, most notably against emerging-market currencies, following the news.
Global equities have been on a tear since Pfizer’s announcement last Monday that its vaccine had succeeded in the final stages of its clinical trial and had proven to be effective in 90% of cases. The S&P 500 has hit record highs, while Tokyo’s Nikkei has risen to its highest in almost 30 years.
Meanwhile, perceived safe-havens such as US Treasuries and gold came under pressure.
Gold dropped by 0.9% to $1,870.35 an ounce, near the lows of the day, while the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury was unchanged around 0.887%.