S&P, Nasdaq hit records as Trump kicks off RNC and touts coronavirus treatment hopes

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine is reportedly being considered for fast-track designation

U.S. equity markets started the week on a strong note as both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite hit fresh records as President Trump kicked off the Republican National Convention touting the U.S. economic recovery which he described as a "super V."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained as 378 points, or 1.35%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose by 1% and 0.60%, respectively.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34869.37 +71.37 +0.21%
SP500 S&P 500 4443.11 -12.37 -0.28%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14969.969964 -77.73 -0.52%

Additionally, investors celebrated Trump's Sunday announcement in which he detailed an emergency authorization to use convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.

"This is a powerful therapy that transfuses very, very strong antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to help treat patients battling a current infection," Trump said.

The Financial Times also reported that AstraZeneca plc’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine is being considered by Trump for fast-track designation in an effort to get an immunization to market ahead of the November election.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AZN ASTRAZENECA PLC 58.72 -1.63 -2.70%

Elsewhere on the vaccine front, Moderna Inc. announced enrollment for its Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial, expected to begin in September, crossed the 40% level.

Other drugmakers producing COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including Pfizer Inc., BioNTech SE and Johnson & Johnson were also in focus.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MRNA MODERNA, INC. 408.84 -21.30 -4.95%
PFE PFIZER INC. 43.57 -0.37 -0.84%
BNTX BIONTECH SE 307.09 -26.39 -7.91%
JNJ JOHNSON & JOHNSON 163.17 -1.19 -0.72%

Meanwhile, Apple Inc. surged to record highs as investors raced to beat Monday’s deadline to get in on the 4-for-1 split, which will take place at the close of business on Friday.  Shares closed above the $500 level for the first time.

Tesla Inc. shares hit their own record high after Wedbush said they could hit $3,500 apiece in a bull-case scenario. The electric-car maker will split its stock 5-for-1 at Friday’s close.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AAPL APPLE, INC. 145.37 -1.55 -1.05%
TSLA TESLA, INC. 791.36 +16.97 +2.19%
BX BLACKSTONE 123.34 -1.76 -1.41%

In mergers and acquisitions, private-equity firm Blackstone Group Inc. reached a deal to acquire the consumer health-care business of Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. for 242 billion Japanese yen ($2.3 billion).

Looking at commodities, gold slipped $6.90 to $1,927.70 an ounce while West Texas Intermediate crude oil tacked on 28 cents to $42.62 a barrel as two storms forced production offline in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. Treasurys were little changed with the yield on the 10-year note holding near 0.64%.

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In Europe, Germany’s DAX paced the advance, up 2.36%, while France’s CAC and Britain’s FTSE surged 2.28% and 1.71%, respectively.

Asian markets were higher across the board with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbing 1.74%, Japan’s Nikkei adding 0.28% and China’s Shanghai Composite edging up 0.14%.