Reopening Stocks Lead The Market Higher After Strong Jobs Report, Pfizer Announcement


Topline

The stock market rallied to record levels yet again on Friday after a better than expected October jobs report, a big announcement from Pfizer and a slew of strong corporate earnings results all helped boost investor optimism about America’s economic recovery.

Key Facts

All three major averages touched new highs: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6%, over 200 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.4% and the tech heavy Nasdaq Composite increased 0.2%.

The United States added back 531,000 jobs in October—better than the 450,000 expected by economists, according to data released by the Labor Department on Friday.

The long-struggling labor market is showing signs of improvement, notching its best monthly showing since July, while the unemployment rate ticked down to 4.6%—its lowest level in more than a year.

A major announcement on Friday from vaccine maker Pfizer also helped boost stocks tied to the reopening of the economy: The company said it will seek FDA approval for its antiviral pill, which reduces the risk of hospitalization and death from Covid-19 by 89%.

Although the Pfizer announcement caused shares of other vaccine makers such as Moderna, BioNTech and Merck to plunge, travel and leisure stocks widely rallied on the news and led the market’s gains on Friday.

Solid earnings also helped drive optimism, including from the likes of Uber, which reported its first-ever adjusted quarterly profit as demand for ride-sharing recovered, and Airbnb, which had its “strongest quarter ever” as travel continued to rebound.

What To Watch For:

While reopening stocks have performed well recently, several pandemic favorites have struggled. Shares of at-home fitness equipment maker Peloton plunged over 30% on Friday after reporting dismal quarterly earnings—making CEO John Foley no longer a billionaire. Other companies have also seen their businesses take a hit from the reopening of the economy: Smart TV company Roku and online education company Chegg both reported lackluster earnings this week.

Tangent:

The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that despite labor shortages, supply chain constraints and inflation fears, the U.S. economy was recovering well. The central bank announced that it would begin reducing the historic level of stimulus it has been providing markets since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Fed chairman Jerome Powell also clarified his stance on high inflation, saying it was “expected to be transitory.” Markets have since rallied on the news.

Key Background:

The stock market has continued to hit fresh highs in recent weeks: The S&P 500 rose over 5% in October for its best month so far in 2021 and is up nearly 2% so far in November. Optimism around the reopening of the U.S. economy has grown, in large part thanks to third-quarter corporate earnings that have proved resilient despite higher costs and inflation fears. Of the 445 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results so far, nearly 81% have beaten expectations, according to Refinitiv.

Further Reading:

Peloton Shares Plunge Over 30%—And CEO John Foley Is No Longer A Billionaire (Forbes)

Stocks Hit Fresh Records After Fed Says It Will Taper Pandemic Stimulus (Forbes)

U.S. Economy Added 531,000 Jobs Last Month—But 7.4 Million Americans Are Still Unemployed (Forbes)

Billions Wiped From Covid Pharma Heavyweights—Including Moderna, Regeneron, Merck—As Pfizer’s Antiviral Pill Triggers Selloff (Forbes)



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