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Stock Market News for Nov 24, 2020

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Benchmarks closed higher on Monday after AstraZeneca and The University of Oxford said its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective in trail. Investors also cheered news that claimed President-elect Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as the Treasury Secretary.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 327.79 points, or 1.1%, to close at 29.591.27 and the S&P 500 rose 20.05 points or 0.6%, to close at 3,577.59. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 11,880.63, adding 25.66 points or 0.2%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 4.4%, to close at 22.66. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones for 2.90-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.95-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq favored advancers.

How Did the Benchmarks Perform?

Out of 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, seven ended in the positive territory with energy sector jumping 7.1% on Monday. The financials and industrials sectors also closed 1.9% and 1.6% higher for the session. Among the Dow’s components, Chevron Corporation (CVX - Free Report) and The Boeing Company (BA - Free Report) emerged as biggest gainers jumping at least 6% on Nov 23.

The Nasdaq closed higher lifted by shares of Tesla, Inc. (TSLA - Free Report) and Align Technology, Inc. (ALGN - Free Report) that closed at least 6.5% higher on Monday. Shares of Align Technology carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Overall, the S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq Composite recorded 146 new highs and eight new lows.

Vaccine Hopes Push Stocks High

On Monday, AstraZeneca PLC (AZN - Free Report) and The University of Oxford reported that their coronavirus vaccine candidate (AZD1222) has met primary endpoint showing protection from COVID-19 occurring in 14 days or more after receiving two doses of the vaccine. The report states that one dosing regimen had showed vaccine efficacy of 90% when AZD1222 was given as a half dose and was also followed by a full dose of AZD1222 at least one month apart. While another dosing regimen showed 62% efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart.

The report comes amid positive developments from other vaccine developers like Pfizer-BioNTech and Modern and helped economically-sensitive stocks jump for the session. Hopes of an early distribution of coronavirus vaccines leading to the economy reopening and subsequently boosting travel activities helped shares of airlines and cruise liners jump on Monday. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL - Free Report) and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL - Free Report) jumped 8.2% and 4.5%, respectively, while cruise companies like Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH - Free Report) and Carnival Corporation & Plc (CCL - Free Report) closed at least 4.5% higher for the day.

Biden Plans to Nominate Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary

Benchmarks got additional boost on Monday after reports from the Wall Street Journal flashed that President-elect Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as the Treasury Secretary. Yellen was replaced by current Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in 2018.

Yellen followed a dovish stance by keeping rates low for years and tapped the central bank’s balance sheet when required to ensure the flow of credit in the financial system during periods of stress. If given the role, Yellen would be the first woman to lead the treasury department.

US Business Activity Expands at the Fastest Rate in November

As per the IHS Markit's survey report released on Monday, U.S. business activity has expanded at the fastest rate in November, more than that in five years. The manufacturing sector grew the fastest since September 2014, climbing from 53.4 in October to 56.7 in November, while the services index rose from 56.9 to 57.7 - the highest since April 2015.

Additionally, ISM Markit's composite index, which is a blend of the manufacturing and services readings have also increased from 56.3 to 57.9 in November, the highest since April 2015.

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