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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Stocks edge higher on Wall Street on latest vaccine hopes

By DAMIAN J. TROISE, AP News.

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks edged higher in morning trading Monday after investors received several pieces of encouraging news on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, tempering concerns over rising virus cases and business restrictions.

The benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.1%, led by banks, industrial companies and other businesses that have been beaten down by the virus. Technology stocks, which hold an outsized weight on index, fell and diminished earlier gains.

The latest vaccine developments are helping to raise hopes that some normalcy will eventually be restored to everyday life and the economy. It is also tempering lingering concerns about new government controls as the virus spikes in the U.S. and globally.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 161 points, or 0.6%, at 29,475 as of 11:27 a.m. Eastern time. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 0.4%.

Roughly 70% of the stocks in the S&P 500 rose. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks outpaced the broader market and jumped 1.4% in another signal that investors were feeling confident. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.85% from 0.81% late Friday.

Many of the companies making gains would greatly benefit from a vaccine allowing people to travel, shop and dine out. Cruise line operator Carnival rose 3.1% and hotel company Marriott gained 2.3%. JPMorgan Chase rose 2.2%

AstraZeneca is the latest drug developer to report surprisingly good results from ongoing vaccine studies. It said the potential vaccine, which is being developed with partner Oxford University, was up to 90% effective. Unlike rival candidates, however, AstraZeneca’s doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute.

Last week, Pfizer and Moderna both reported study results showing their vaccines were almost 95% effective. And, over the weekend, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals received U.S. government approval for emergency use of its COVID-19 treatment. The drug, which President Donald Trump received when he was sickened last month, is meant to try to prevent hospitalization and worsening disease from developing in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.2%, and Germany’s DAX returned 0.3%. The FTSE 100 in London was flat. Asian stocks were mixed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.1%, but other markets were stronger. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.5% and stocks in Shanghai added 0.2%.

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