Pfizer’s Strong Vaccine Candidate Sends Global Stocks Skyrocketing

After Pfizer posted a 90% prevention rate for its COVID-19 vaccine, global markets were turned upside down.

This morning, pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and BioNTech reported the preliminary results for testing of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which was found to have prevented more than 90% of infections in volunteer subjects.

The news immediately energised global markets, with the areas that suffered most during the pandemic seeing a resurgence. The world’s leading indices took off, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 rising by 5%, ,while the FTSE, DAX and CAC 40 rose by 5%, 6% and 7% respectively.

US futures were also buoyed by the news, with Dow Jones and S&P 500 futures respectively rising by 5% and 4%.

Predictably, the manufacturers of the successful vaccine candidate saw a rush of positive attention from investors. Pfizer’s share price rose 6% at the open, while BioNTech’s rose by 18%. The swell even lifted rival pharma giant Moderna, whose candidate vaccine is based on similar technology, by more than 5%. Meanwhile, shares in rival AstraZeneca fell by 2%.

News of the promising vaccine trials had a remarkable effect on market areas that had been most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Airline stocks soared, with Easyjet rising as much as 26% on the announcement, while British Airways owner IAG soared 30%. Other COVID-struck areas, such as energy and auto stocks, saw dramatic gains as well; Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate rose by 8% and 9% respectively, while Volkswagen and Daimler both jumped 6% higher. At one point, cruise operator Carnival gained as much as 30%.

Meanwhile, stocks that saw great gains during the pandemic saw sharp drops in value. Amazon fell by over 3%, and videoconferencing company Zoom fell as much as 20%.

“It’s clear the market is forward looking and pricing in recovery in a number of beaten-down areas next year,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, though he warned that investors “should not be jumping any guns here”.

The scale of growth seen in the major indices is a very rare occurrence; the FTSE 100 alone gained £82 billion in value in its best day since March.

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