The Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square of New York, the US, September 14 2020. Picture: MICHAEL NAGEL/BLOOMBERG
The Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square of New York, the US, September 14 2020. Picture: MICHAEL NAGEL/BLOOMBERG

New York —  US stocks ended sharply higher on Monday as signs of progress in developing a Covid-19 vaccine and a spurt of multibillion-dollar deals lifted investor optimism.

Gains were broad-based, with all of the S&P 500 sectors ending in positive territory and real estate and technology leading gains.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca resumed its British clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced in development.

Also, Pfizer  rose 2.6% after the drugmaker and German biotech firm BioNTech proposed to expand their phase three  pivotal Covid-19 vaccine trial to about 44,000 participants.

“The market loves anything with a vaccine because that is the ultimate solution here. And we'll see more and more headlines,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

Merger-related news also lifted the market, and tech shares performed well but value-related sectors did as well, he said. That suggests investors may continue buy into value. Nvidia jumped 5.8% and was among the biggest boosts for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq after plans to buy UK-based chip designer Arm from Japan's SoftBank for as much as $40bn, in a deal set to reshape the global semiconductor landscape. The Philadelphia chip index rose 2.1%.

Oracle gained 4.3% as the cloud services company said it would team up with China's ByteDance to keep TikTok operating in the US, beating Microsoft in a deal structured as a partnership rather than an outright sale.

US stocks are coming off of two straight weeks of losses as investors sold heavyweight technology shares that had powered the benchmark index to record highs in a dramatic recovery from its March lows.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 327.69 points, or 1.18%, to 27,993.33, the S&P 500 gained 42.57 points, or 1.27%, to 3,383.54 and the Nasdaq Composite added 203.11 points, or 1.87%, to 11,056.65.

Seattle Genetics gained 14.5% after Merck said it would buy a $1bn stake in the smaller drugmaker to co-develop and sell its cancer therapy.

Tesla's shares rebounded 12.6% after losses last week.

Immunomedics's shares surged after Gilead Sciences's $21bn buyout deal.

Reuters

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