Stocks and oil surge on Pfizer vaccine breakthrough

Shares on Wall St climb and oil prices jump as company reports promising results from phase 3 vaccine trials

The exterior of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen on November 4, 2020 in New York.  Wall Street stocks were in rally mode Wednesday, shrugging off uncertainty over the still-unresolved presidential election and the likelihood of divided government in Washington.The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 2.0 percent, or about 560 points, at 28,041.28 at around 1530 GMT, 
 / AFP / Kena Betancur

Global stocks surged on news that a vaccine being trialled by Pfizer for Covid-19 proved more than 90 per cent effective against the virus.

Pfizer shares were up 9.6 per cent at 8.31pm UAE time after the firm said an interim analysis from a phase 3 trial of a vaccine it is developing with BioNTech was found to have a 90 per cent efficacy rate within seven days of a second dose being administered.

The S&P 500 index was up 2.9 per cent, the Dow Jones index rose 3.9 per cent and the Nasdaq 100 climbed 0.7 per cent.

Oil prices also soared, with Brent crude trading 7.3 per cent higher at $42.56 per barrel and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate up 8.1 per cent.

The Eurostoxx 50 index was up 6.4 per cent, Germany's DAX climbed 5.2 per cent and the FTSE 100 rose 4.9 per cent.

"Pfizer’s vaccine news brings us one step closer to normal living," said Naeem Aslam, chief markets analyst at Avatrade.

"There is no doubt that we are getting more and more good news as we approach the end of this year."

Shares had already closed higher in Asia and had been climbing in Europe after Joe Biden was declared the 46th president of the US over the weekend.

“As the US election overhang clears, market dispersion rises as a period of risk-friendly casual looks to follow the post-election frenzy,” Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, said.

“Monetary policy can help extend post-election rallies in risk sentiment, creating a bridge to a post-vaccine environment.”

Although President Donald Trump continues to refuse to concede election results and vows to explore legal options, markets are taking cues from the president-elect, who has begun his transition efforts.

There is a growing sense the election will not be contested and in his victory speech Mr Biden promised swift and concerted efforts to control the pandemic and reboot the economy. Odds point to a divided government, but more fiscal support for struggling businesses and individuals is likely.

In Asia, The Nikkei 225 closed up 2.12 per cent, the Hang Seng was up 1.1 per cent and the Shanghai index finished the session 1.96 per cent higher.

“Across Asia, the picture is much the same – a sea of green,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at Oanda, said.

“I expect the Biden afterglow to withstand any tweets from the White House or threats of legal challenges. That should be the theme of the entire week.”

Mr Biden is perceived in Asia as being likely to “reengage in international trade”, a positive for Asian economies, he said.

“There may also be some dialling down of the geopolitical tensions in the region,” he added.

The improved outlook led to a decline in the price of safe havens, with spot gold prices dropping 5 per cent to $1,854.07 per oz. Gold futures also traded 5.1 per cent lower.