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."

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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.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES30930.52+116.26+0.38%
SP500S&P 5003798.91+30.66+0.81%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX13197.179496+198.68+1.53%

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.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AZNASTRAZENECA PLC52.57+1.23+2.40%

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.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MRNAMODERNA INC.125.01-4.64-3.58%
PFEPFIZER INC.36.73+0.03+0.07%
BNTXBIONTECH SE104.70+3.11+3.06%
JNJJOHNSON & JOHNSON162.72+2.44+1.52%

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.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AAPLAPPLE INC.127.83+0.69+0.54%
TSLATESLA INC.844.55+18.39+2.23%
BXBLACKSTONE GROUP64.41+1.06+1.67%

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%.


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%.