Vaccine boost helps send Wall Street to record

NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday as each of the major averages touched record levels in part due to a boost from the healthcare sector on positive COVID-19 vaccine news, while uncertainty over fresh fiscal stimulus held gains in check.

FILE PHOTO: A trader wearing a protective face mask walks, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the financial district of New York, U.S., November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Johnson & Johnson gained 1.67% to help lift both the Dow and S&P 500 after the company said it could obtain late-stage trial results of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine it is developing in January, earlier than expected.

Pfizer Inc also advanced 1.67% as it cleared the next hurdle in the race to get its COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use, after the U.S. health regulator released documents raising no new safety or efficacy issues.

Wall Street’s main indexes have traded in a tight range to start the trading week, as investors look for more stimulus in the face of surging COVID-19 cases and fresh restrictions in California.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday she supported including another round of $1,200 direct payments for Americans in a fresh package, which is currently not included in the $908 billion proposal put forth by a bipartisan group of lawmakers last week.

“The market has already priced in something, and what we are going to get now is probably less than what the market expected,” said Ken Polcari, managing partner at Kace Capital Advisors in Jupiter, Florida.

“The market is now expecting a $900 billion package because that is what they made it sound like so if they get less than a $900 billion package, the market will have priced in too much and it will back off a little bit.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 147.64 points, or 0.49%, to 30,217.43, the S&P 500 gained 13.89 points, or 0.38%, to 3,705.85 and the Nasdaq Composite added 64.07 points, or 0.51%, to 12,584.01.

Investors are closely watching whether policymakers will be able to clinch an agreement on a long-awaited coronavirus relief bill and a $1.4 trillion spending bill, with Friday eyed as a deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

The U.S. Congress will vote this week on a one-week stopgap funding bill to provide more time for lawmakers to reach a deal on both spending and pandemic relief.

Positive developments related to the COVID-19 vaccine have in recent weeks helped investors look past the surge in infections and anticipate an economic rebound next year.

Analysts now expect investor attention to gradually shift from vaccine approvals to their global distribution and any possible side effects that may occur.

Boeing Co shed 0.23% after company data showed the planemaker lost another 63 orders for its newly ungrounded 737 MAX jet in November.

After spending the early part of the session in negative territory, Tesla Inc rose 0.64% after the electric-car maker unveiled a $5 billion capital raise, its second such move in three months.

Drug developer Moderna Inc climbed 1.67%, after Switzerland increased its confirmed orders for its COVID-19 vaccine doses to 7.5 million from 4.5 million.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.92-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.70-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 48 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 207 new highs and 8 new lows.

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