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Dow Rockets 912 Points Higher on Vaccine Hopes

John Divine

It doesn't take much in the way of good news surrounding the virus to make the stock market jump these days. The first early clinical results from the first vaccine candidate in human testing, a drug from Moderna (ticker: MRNA), showed promise, sparking a broad rally on Wall Street.

It's undoubtedly a positive sign, and accompanied by an emphatic weekend interview from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell vowing as much central bank help for markets as was necessary, investors bid markets much higher on the dual dose of optimism.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 912 points, or 3.9%, to finish at 24,597.

Moderna jumps. The news from Moderna sent MRNA shares up 20% as the company touted data from its phase one clinical trial that showed the vaccine candidate built up antibodies in some of the voluntary participants, who were aged 18 to 55.

It's unknown at the moment whether the antibodies will prevent people from becoming infected at this point, but the company sounded optimistic, and is testing people above age 55 as well. MRNA has been cleared by the government for more advanced testing. If all goes well, a vaccine could be ready by autumn.

Powell on Fed lending flexibility: "really no limit." In an interview on "60 Minutes," Fed chair Jerome Powell doubled down on his previous language that central bankers usually stray from, saying that the Federal Reserve would be doing "everything we can to support the people we serve."

The Fed, of course, serves all Americans, and has a dual mandate from Congress to keep two things in check: inflation and unemployment. With more than 36 million Americans unemployed, the latter mandate is far more urgent at the moment, and the Fed has been printing trillions of dollars and creating new lending facilities to buffer the economy.

Oil bounce-back? Oil prices, which temporarily when negative only a few short weeks ago, are back on the rise, with the most widely followed measure of prices jumping more than 11% to cross back into the $30 per barrel range, finishing just under $33.

It reflects optimism over future demand and is great news for the large U.S. shale industry if the rebound can last.

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