Stocks Hit Record Highs On COVID-19 Vaccine Hopes Stocks surged after Pfizer said its experimental vaccine was more than 90% effective and after former Vice President Joe Biden was elected president.

Stocks Soar To Record Highs On Vaccine Hopes

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Stocks are hitting record highs this morning. This follows Pfizer's announcement that it has had big success with a COVID-19 vaccine. The Dow rose more than 1,500 points right after the market opened, and the other major indexes are up as well. We have NPR's Jim Zarroli with us. Jim, good morning.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So what are you seeing? And what's driving the market so high?

ZARROLI: Well, this is really good news for the economy. I mean, it's a potential sea change. You know, the - as you know, the pandemic led to a global shutdown in the economy with lots of businesses closing, lots of - millions of people, tens of millions of people laid off really all over the world. The economy just ground to a halt, especially, you know, travel companies, airlines, cruise ships. They were just devastated. If this vaccine proves to be as successful as it appears right now, you know, maybe we will start to see a return to normal at some point, which is why we're seeing stocks just up across the board this morning.

GREENE: What kinds of stocks in particular seem to be benefiting?

ZARROLI: Well, we're seeing airline stocks really surging. United was up 25% right after the market opened. Delta was up more than 20%. Companies like Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines, which, you know, nobody takes - took cruises, you know, once the lockdowns took effect. They are up. Also, big banks tend to do better when the economy's in good shape. So you're seeing Goldman Sachs and Citigroup up. And also, energy companies, Exxon, for instance - they benefit from an economy that's growing. They're much higher this morning. But really, almost all stocks are up across the board.

GREENE: Are there exceptions? I mean, are there some stocks that might go down if it looks like a pandemic could at some point soon be coming to an end?

ZARROLI: Yeah. That - and this is kind of funny. The ones that are down or not up as much are companies like Netflix and Peloton, eBay. These are companies that have actually benefited from the lockdowns, you know? When there's a lockdown, people watch a lot of Netflix 'cause they can't go out. So - you know, they can't go to the gym, so they use Peloton. So if this vaccine is as promising as it looks, people aren't going to do that as much. And so you're seeing Netflix stock down, Peloton; eBay is down, too.

GREENE: I mean, the other thing, obviously, we saw over the weekend, which was pretty significant news, is the election called and Joe Biden gives a victory speech. And we are now calling him president-elect. Has that had a factor in what we're seeing this morning as well?

ZARROLI: Yeah, I think so. The market really soared last week, and it was up later in the week when it became pretty clear that Biden was going to be the winner. The Democrats didn't do as well as they hoped. And it looks like the Senate is going to remain in Republican control depending on the outcome of those two runoff elections in Georgia. Unless the Dems - Democrats can win those races, we are going to be headed for a period of divided government - you know, a Democratic White House in a Republican-controlled Senate. And it's kind of conventional wisdom on Wall Street - the market has usually done pretty well under divided government.

GREENE: And I guess the other big question - I mean, when we've talked about stocks and the markets, we've talked about a stimulus bill and whether we might see one coming from Congress. Is - do you feel like there's any clarity? And are we seeing the markets respond?

ZARROLI: Yeah, there's - I think there's a broad consensus among economists that we need another stimulus bill. The economy was really weakened by the pandemic, as we said. You know, this vaccine news today is still preliminary, and it could be months before we know what the impact is going to be. So, you know, we need a stimulus bill. And the hope is President Biden and Congress will be able to get one.

GREENE: NPR's Jim Zarroli.

Jim, thanks as always.

ZARROLI: You're welcome.

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