US stocks opened higher as hopes for a coronavirus vaccine continued to see investors move into beaten-up shares, but surging infections in the US and Europe also rekindled the allure of tech stocks.
Wall Street’s main stock indexes opened higher on Wednesday as positive news of a COVID-19 vaccine trial continued to lift investor hopes that the economy could be poised to return to normal and tech stocks rallied after heavy losses earlier in the week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 150 points at the open. Some 15 minutes into the trading session, the 30-share index was up roughly 61 points or 0.21 percent at 29,482.43.
The broader S&P 500 – which weights stocks by their market value as opposed to their price – was up 0.64 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.39 percent.
While stocks kicked the week off with a massive rally sparked by promising phase 3 trial results for Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a tech sell-off weighed on the Nasdaq and also dragged the S&P lower on Tuesday.
Vaccine hopes have seen investors move out of tech stocks and other ‘stay-at-home’ plays and buy shares of firms that have been battered by the pandemic, such as airlines, hotels, cruises-lines, movie theaters.
But tech shares were alluring again on Wednesday, as investors position portfolios for the possibility that a vaccine could return the economy to normal next year, and the grim spike in infections currently sweeping Europe and the US.
Major economies in Europe have already reintroduced business-sapping lockdowns to curb skyrocketing COVD-19 cases.
The US meanwhile is currently averaging over 120,000 new infections a day, and the economic scars of the early pandemic months are deepening as millions of Americans struggle to make ends meet.
The lifting effects of some $3 trillion virus relief aid from Congress earlier this year have ebbed, and Washington has yet to pass a new stimulus package.
More social safety nets enacted in the spring are set to expire by year’s end including the CDC’s moratorium on evictions.
Meanwhile, political divisiveness in Washington DC is growing with President Donald Trump not yet conceding defeat to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump and his supporters continue to make unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and his campaign has launched more than a dozen legal challenges to voter counts in five states.
Among stocks making headlines on Wednesday:
Shares of Lyft Inc were up 6.1 percent after the ride-hailing and delivery app announced it was working on a new service in the burgeoning food-security market.