October 20, 2021

U.S. stocks pushed higher on Friday as investors shook off a rough September and news of a new oral treatment for COVID-19 boosted shares of companies tied to the economic recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrials spiked 482.54 points, or 1.4%, to finish a tumultuous week at 34,326.46, in which the index faded 1.36%.

The S&P 500 advanced 49.5 points to 4,357.04, for a loss on the week of 2.21%.

The NASDAQ Composite gathered 118.12 points to 14,566.70, breaking a string of five losing sessions. The decrease on the week was 3.2%, however.

Shares of Dow member Merck jumped 9% after the drug maker and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said their oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 50% for patients with mild or moderate cases. The companies plan to seek emergency authorization for the treatment.

The new drug from Merck appeared to boost travel stocks. Shares of Royal Caribbean and Las Vegas Sands added more than 3%. Southwest Airlines led a gain in airline stocks after JPMorgan upgraded the stock and said most of the group was worth buying for a trade. Bank stocks rose as well, helping the Dow outperform.

Vaccine stocks, including Moderna, dipped in following the Merck news.

The market just capped a tumultuous September as inflation fears, slowing growth and rising rates kept investors on edge. The S&P 500 finished the month down 4.8%, breaking a seven-month winning streak. The Dow dumped 4.3%, and the NASDAQ fell 5.3%, suffering their worst months of the year.

On the data front, personal income rose 0.2% in August, in line with expectations. The price index for core personal consumption expenditures was up 3.6% year over year, slightly ahead of the estimate of 3.5% from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

Congress was poised to prevent a government shutdown Thursday. The Senate and House both passed a short-term appropriations bill that would keep the government running through Dec. 3 and sent it to President Joe Biden to sign.

On the data front, personal income rose 0.2% in August, in line with expectations. The price index for core personal consumption expenditures was up 3.6% year over year, the biggest jump in more than 30 years slightly ahead of the estimate of 3.5% from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

Prices for 10-year Treasurys were higher, lowering yields to 1.47% from Thursday’s 1.50%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 71 cents to $75.74 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices added $3.30 to $1,760.30 U.S. an ounce.

Source link