S&P 500, Nasdaq hit records as coronavirus vaccine rollout begins

Tesla announced a $5B offering of new common stock

Stocks rallied to record highs Tuesday as the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the U.K. and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration delivered some encouraging news about the inoculation.

The Nasdaq Composite notched its fourth straight record close, up 0.5%, while the S&P 500 added 0.28% to notch its own all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, gained 104 points, or 0.35%, and finished just shy of its own record peak.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14271.7325 +18.46 +0.13%
SP500 S&P 500 4241.84 -4.60 -0.11%
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 33874.24 -71.34 -0.21%

A staff report issued by the FDA on Tuesday said the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is both safe and effective. The vaccine could receive emergency use authorization in the U.S. as soon as Thursday – two days after the first shots were given in Britain.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PFE PFIZER INC. 39.05 -0.56 -1.41%
BNTX BIONTECH SE 229.50 -6.99 -2.96%

Elsewhere, Tesla Inc. plans to issue $5 billion of new common stock, capitalizing on a 667% year-to-date surge in its share price. Proceeds from the offering, which is Tesla’s third this year, will be used to shore up the company’s balance sheet.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA, INC. 656.57 +32.86 +5.27%

Separately, CEO Elon Musk confirmed he will be relocating his personal residence to Texas from California during an interview at a WSJ conference.

Uber Technologies Inc. will sell its self-driving car unit to rival Aurora Innovation Inc. for $4 billion and invest $400 million in the company. The deal will give Uber a 26% stake in Aurora.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UBER UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC. 50.51 +1.46 +2.98%
X UNITED STATES STEEL CORP. 23.49 +0.38 +1.64%

U.S. Steel Corp. will pay $774 million in cash to buy the remaining 50.1% stake in steel product manufacturer Big River Steel. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, Palantir Technologies Inc. shares were higher for a second day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration awarded the company a $44 million contract that focuses on powering drug reviews and inspections.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PLTR PALANTIR TECHNOLOGIES, INC. 26.27 +0.87 +3.43%
SFIX STITCH FIX 60.38 -2.52 -4.01%

Looking at earnings, Stitch Fix Inc. reported a surprise profit as its active user base rose 10% from a year ago to almost 3.8 million clients. The online personal styling platform expects revenue to grow 20% to 25% during fiscal year 2021.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 16 cents to $45.46 per barrel and gold added $9 to $1,870.80 per ounce.

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European markets were little changed after the U.K. government announced it has reached a deal in principle with the European Union on Brexit. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.05% and Germany’s DAX 30 ticked up 0.06% while France's CAC 30 slipped 0.23%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index paced the decline, down 0.76%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.3% and China’s Shanghai Composite index lost 0.19%.