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 33781.48 +183.56 +0.55%
SP500 S&P 500 3963.51 +29.59 +0.75%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 11082.003325 +123.45 +1.13%

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 69.17 +0.32 +0.46%

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. 184.70 +5.70 +3.18%
PFE PFIZER INC. 51.80 +1.55 +3.09%
BNTX BIONTECH SE 171.81 +9.18 +5.64%
JNJ JOHNSON & JOHNSON 177.20 +0.03 +0.02%

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. 142.65 +1.71 +1.21%
TSLA TESLA INC. 173.44 -0.60 -0.34%
BX BLACKSTONE 79.08 +1.43 +1.84%

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%.