All stock indices at the New York Stock Exchange saw huge gain on Monday, following its worst week in two bad months of economic shutdown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 3.85% higher than opening, a gain of 911.95 points to close at 24,597.37. The Nasdaq Composite saw similar gains, gaining 220.27 points for an 2.44% gain, to finish at 9,234.83; the S&P 500 increased by 90.21 points to close at 2,953.91, an increase of 3.15%.
Earlier on Monday, biotech company Moderna gave a promising report on its efforts to develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The results of a Phase 1 trial showed a boosted immune response, producing results very similar to those who contracted the disease and recovered from it.
Moderna’s shares jumped 20% following the news. However, the road to a marketable vaccine is still long and arduous. Meanwhile, more than 1.5 million Americans have contracted the novel coronavirus and more than 90,000 have died.
Meanwhile, nearly every US state has announced plans for relaxing social lockdown restrictions and reopening parts of their economies, news that helped markets rocket further higher still. However, an analysis by Reuters noted that just 13 of the 50 states had met guidelines for reopening set by the US federal government, which include a 14-day decrease in new cases and a massive increase in virus testing, among other measures of outbreak prevalence.
Still, experts noted that investors remain cautious, especially about the possibility of secondary outbreaks after closures are relaxed.
“Even with better economic numbers, the market won’t rejoice,” Paul Chew, head of research at Phillip Securities in Singapore, told the Wall Street Journal.
However, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell cautioned over the weekend that the US economy could take more than a year to recover. Meanwhile, unemployment stands at Great Depression-era levels, with nearly 16% of the workforce out of work and firings expected to continue into June.