Markets Up As US Clears Path For Moderna Vaccine Approval

European markets have opened positively this morning with Germany’s Dax leading the way up 1.6% as optimism creeps in surrounding vaccination and the prospect of US fiscal stimulus ahead of Central Bank meetings on both sides of the pond. Travel and leisure has also seen a bounce as well as better than expected numbers from tyre maker Continental helping the Dax outperform.

The big news on Tuesday in the US came out of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which said that Moderna’s (MRNA) COVID-19 vaccine is both effective and safe for use in adults. This week, the same advisory panel that voted to authorise Pfizer’s vaccine will meet to vote on whether or not it will recommend the FDA-authorised Moderna’s offering. The US government has a contract to purchase 200 million doses of the vaccine in the first half of the year, with six million doses to be sent across the US in the first week. US stocks reacted positively to the news, with the S&P 500 up by 1.3%. All 11 of the index’s sectors were in the green, with nine of those adding more than 1% on Tuesday.

In other news, the FT reported that support is growing among lawmakers to agree on a $748bn slimmed down stimulus package, which has had contested elements such as liability protections for businesses and local government assistance stripped out.

Apple jumps 5% on reports of iPhone production ramp up

The broad-based rally on Tuesday lifted the three major US stock indices, which all finished the day more than 1% higher. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is now up by 14.4%. Apple (AAPL) was one of the major contributors, as the $2trn market cap smartphone maker jumped 5% after reports that iPhone production is set to increase in the first half of 2021. Nikkei reported that the company is planning a 30% increase in iPhones in H1 2021, including its latest iPhone 12 models and older iPhone 11 and iPhone SE models. Apple’s share price is now up by 74% in 2020, including a 10.7% gain in the past three months. Online marketplace eBay (EBAY) also enjoyed a solid day, adding 5.1%, taking its year-to-date gain to 44.2%.

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