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Stock market news live updates: Dow posts best month since 1987 as vaccine news boosts stocks

Emily McCormick
·Reporter
·8 min read
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Stocks fell Monday as investors gave back some of last week’s gains, which sent the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to fresh record highs and the Dow above 30,000 for the first time ever.

[Click here to read what’s moving markets heading into Tuesday, Dec. 1]

However, the three major indices capped off November with major monthly gains. The Dow posted a monthly gain of nearly 11.9% for its best month since early 1987. The S&P 500 tracked toward a rise of about 10.7%, and the Nasdaq posted an 11.9% advance in November, which were each the best gains since April this year.

Investors rode a wave of upbeat news about impending COVID-19 inoculations, with AstraZeneca (AZN) becoming the latest drug-maker to announce strong efficacy data about its vaccine candidate last week. Moderna (MRNA) said Monday it will file for emergency use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its vaccine candidate, joining Pfizer (PFE), which has already applied for an EUA.

Stocks set to benefit most from the lasting economic reopening that a vaccine might confer ticked lower after soaring last week, as traders extended November’s rotation into cyclical stocks and away from some of the high-flying tech names that had led earlier on during the pandemic. Shares of Carnival Corporation (CCL), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), American Airlines (AAL), and United Air Lines (UAL) jumped by double digit percentages last week alone, far outpacing the broader market’s 2.3% advance over that time frame. Boeing (BA), American Express (AXP) and Chevron (CVX) led last week’s gains in the Dow.

The steady drumbeat of vaccine updates compounded with more developments around President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet selections, with key nominees having been viewed as market-positive. And since election results were first called by media outlets earlier this month, many investors cheered the likelihood of a divided government, though control of the Senate will not be ultimately known until January.

“A trifecta of recent positive catalysts should continue to buoy markets. Equities have welcomed a decisive Biden victory and a divided Congress, and news flow on vaccine efficacy has been much better than expected,” Barclays equity strategists led by Maneesh Deshpande said in a note last week. “Importantly, corporate earnings continue to surprise to the upside and we expect this trend to continue. A reversal of the significant mutual fund YTD outflows should provide additional support.”

Still, the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. grew more dire, and the winter months are expected to be especially grim as Americans travel for the holidays and outdoor activities become tougher to come by. COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have so far topped 4 million in November alone, more than doubling the one-month record of 1.9 million from just a month earlier. In total, more than 13.2 million Americans have been infected, and 266,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data.

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4:03 p.m. ET: Dow gains 11.9% in November for best month since January 1987 as vaccine news boosts stocks

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:03 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -16.66 (-0.46%) to 3,621.69

  • Dow (^DJI): -271.14 (-0.91%) to 29,639.23

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -7.11 (-0.06%) to 12,198.74

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.40 (-0.88%) to $45.13 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$8.10 (-0.45%) to $1,780.00 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.2 bps to yield 0.8440%

12:29 p.m. ET: UBS sees GDP returning to pre-COVID levels in 3Q 2021 as vaccine news raises growth prospects

UBS economists on Monday upgraded their forecast for U.S. economic growth next year, citing the slew of recent positive news on the vaccine front as a key driver.

The economists anticipate that economic activity will accelerate in the first half of next year as the vaccine is distributed, COVID-19 cases fall, and a slimmed-down stimulus package of around $450 billion is passed in Washington. GDP will likely grow by about 3.9% in 2021, or 1 percentage point faster than their previous forecast, with an unemployment rate down to 4.8%, from the nearly 7% jobless rate now, the economists said.

“For our baseline, we now assume that vaccines allow reported cases of COVID-19 to fall to zero in 2021Q2 and that President-elect Biden faces a split Congress,” the economists led by Seth Carpenter said in a note. “The drop in ‘reported cases’ is key to reducing mobility restrictions and to households and businesses returning to more normal spending patterns.”

“The boost from the fiscal package and COVID-19 ending in notable,” they added. “GDP returns to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2021Q3.”

11:02 a.m. ET: Dow adds to losses, sheds more than 300 points

Stocks’ losses accelerated Monday morning, and the Dow shed more than 300 points, or 1%. Drops in shares of components Salesforce, Dow Inc. and Boeing led the decline.

The S&P 500 also fell by more than 0.8%, as the energy and consumer discretionary sectors lagged. The Nasdaq, which had been slightly higher earlier during the session, tumbled 0.9%

10:08 a.m. ET: Pending home sales unexpectedly fall in October

Pending home sales in the U.S. declined in October for a second straight month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported on Monday, with these declining 1.1% over September. Consensus economists expected pending home sales to rise by 1%, according to Bloomberg data. A 5.9% decline in pending home sales in the Northeast led the decline, while those in the West held up mostly strongly and were little changed month-over-month.

Still, national contract signings remained more than 20% above levels from October 2019, as low interest rates and demand for single homes in the suburbs helped fuel a jump in demand for housing.

"Pending home transactions saw a small drop off from the prior month but still easily outperformed last year's numbers for October," Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, said in a statement. "The housing market is still hot, but we may be starting to see rising home prices hurting affordability."

9:31 a.m. ET: Dow, S&P 500 open lower

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:31 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -7.25 points (-0.2%) to 3,631.1

  • Dow (^DJI): -157.42 points (-0.53%) to 29,752.95

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +34.38 points (+0.28%) to 12,240.89

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.06 (-0.13%) to $45.47 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$11.90 (-0.67%) to $1,776.20 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.3 bps to yield 0.845%

8:34 a.m. ET: Delivery company DoorDash eyes IPO that could raise as much as $2.8 billion

DoorDash, the nation’s largest delivery company, is set to raise up to $2.8 billion in its initial public offering, becoming one of the latest companies to join the torrent of public debuts this year.

According to a securities filing Monday, DoorDash will sell 33 million shares for between $75 to $85 apiece, to give the company a market capitalization of more than $30 billion on the high end of the range.

In the nine months ending September 30 this year, DoorDash’s revenue more than tripled over last year to $1.9 billion, from the $587 million during the same period last year. Its net losses narrowed to $149 million over that time frame, versus $533 million over the same months in 2019.

8:23 a.m. ET: General Motors announces smaller deal with electric car-maker Nikola

General Motors (GM) said in a statement Monday that it had revised the terms of its deal with newly public electric-car maker Nikola (NKLA), which was first announced in early September.

Under terms of the new agreement, GM will supply its Hydrotec fuel-cell system for Nikola’s commercial semi-trucks. However, the company will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola, nor will it help manufacture Nikola’s Badger electric pickup truck, as had been planned earlier.

Shares of Nikola sank more than 7% in early trading following the announcement, while shares of GM were down less than 1%.

7:05 a.m. ET Monday: Stock futures point to a lower open

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:05 a.m. ET Monday morning:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,620.75, down 15.75 point or 0.43%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 29,679.00, down 195 points or 0.65%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,256.5, down 1 points or 0.01%

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.64 (-1.41%) to $44.89 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$13.80 (-0.77%) to $1,774.30 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.3 bps to yield 0.855%

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24: People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on November 24, 2020 in New York City. As investor's fear of an election crisis eases, the DowJones Industrial Average passed the 30,000 milestone for the first time on Tuesday morning.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24: People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on November 24, 2020 in New York City. As investor's fear of an election crisis eases, the DowJones Industrial Average passed the 30,000 milestone for the first time on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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