October 4, 2023

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Moderna stock hits new record after vaccine claim

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Shares in London closed at their highest level since June as stock markets around the world rose sharply after news of successful trials of a second Covid-19 vaccine.

Shares of cruise operators charged higher Monday, after Moderna Inc.’s MRNA, +9.57% said its COVID-19 vaccine candidate demonstrated better-than 94% efficacy in a Phase 3 trial. Shares of Carnival Corp CCL, +9.74% shot up 6.9% in premarket trading, after being up about 4.7% prior to Moderna’s news. Royal Caribbean Group’s stock RCL, +6.92% ran up 6.5% ahead of the open and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. shares NCLH, +6.23% surged 9.0%. Meanwhile, futures ES00, -0.31% for the S&P 500 SPX, +1.16% rallied 1.2%. Cruise operators have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they have struggled to resume operations amid government restrictions in the U.S. and abroad.

For the second Monday in a row, equity prices soared on all the world’s leading bourses after Moderna said its treatment for the pandemic was almost 95% effective.

Analysts said the announcement by the pharmaceutical company – following that made by Pfizer a week ago – had boosted confidence that an end to the pandemic was in sight.

Despite warnings that distributing the vaccine would be a “D-day” style exercise, investors sought shares in companies previously worst affected by the lockdowns and other restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus.

Stock markets had already risen in Asia overnight after it was announced that Japan’s technology-rich economy had bounced back in the third quarter of 2020. It grew by 5% in what some economists called the “zoom boom” because of demand for laptops and screens from people forced to work from home.

The rally then spread to Europe, where the FTSE 100 was up in early trading before getting a second wind from the Moderna announcement. London’s main stock market barometer closed 104 points higher at 6,421 points, a 1.6% increase that added £26bn to the value of shares.

So far in November, the FTSE has increased by 15% and is on course for its best month in recent decades, although it remains well over 1,000 points below its record high of 7,877 reached in May 2018.

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