By Shivani Kumaresan and Medha Singh
(Reuters) – The Dow and the S&P 500 inched higher on Wednesday as Boeing rose after it won U.S. approval to resume flights of its 737 MAX jet, while growing optimism that a working vaccine was within reach also lifted the mood.
The planemaker advanced 1% as it geared up to resume deliveries of the best-selling jet again after a 20-month grounding following two fatal crashes.
The news also lifted the S&P 1500 airlines index <.spcomair> 3.5%, with American Airlines rising 4.3% and Southwest Airlines adding 3% as the carriers laid out plans to fly the aircraft again.
Earlier in the day, Pfizer Inc said it would apply for emergency U.S. authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine within days and disclosed final results from a late-stage trial that showed it was 95% effective. The drugmaker’s shares rose 1.7%.
The announcement comes after Moderna Inc on Monday released preliminary data for its COVID-19 vaccine, showing similar effectiveness.
“The biggest positive news is Pfizer is not only going to get approval for the vaccine but the vaccine coming at 95% effectiveness which is terrific,” said Christopher Grisanti, chief equity strategist, MAI Capital Management, New York.
Meanwhile, the number of reported global daily deaths from the coronavirus stood at its highest ever on Tuesday, as the global epicenter the United States entered winter.
At 11:54 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.dji> rose 79.53 points, or 0.27%, to 29,862.88, the S&P 500 <.spx> gained 5.49 points, or 0.15%, to 3,615.02 and the Nasdaq Composite <.ixic> gained 12.90 points, or 0.11%, to 11,912.24.
Target Corp rose 4.4% after the big-box retailer blew past expectations for quarterly profit and sales, as its quick delivery services boosted online shopping.
Discount store operator TJX Companies Inc rose about 4% after topping estimates for quarterly results.
“With earnings announcements coming in better than expected from the retail space and the positive news on Boeing, it should drive interest in cyclicals,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth, New York.
S&P sectors sensitive to economic growth, such as financials <.spsy>, industrials <.splrci> and energy <.spny> provided some of the biggest boosts to the S&P 500.
Lowe’s Cos Inc tumbled 6.4% as the home improvement chain forecast holiday-quarter earnings largely below analysts’ estimates.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 2.2-to-1 ratio and by a 1.6-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq Composite recorded 190 new highs and nine new lows.
(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan, Sruthi Shankar, Medha Singh, Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)