The major indices fell on Friday morning amid continued volatility in heavily shorted stocks and new COVID-19 vaccine trial results from Johnson & Johnson. J&J said that its vaccine candidate was 66% effective in preventing the spread of the virus globally (72% in the U.S.), well below the high bar set by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. However, the lower efficacy may reflect the increased prevalence of new variants of the virus during the J&J trial. On the positive side, J&J said that the vaccine was 85% effective in preventing severe cases of the disease 28 days after vaccination and 100% effective in preventing hospitalization. The Dow fell 1.3%, the S&P 1.3%, and the Nasdaq 1.2%. Crude oil traded near $53 per barrel, while gold rose $20 to $1861 per ounce.