US stocks have surged after pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and BioNTech said their experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective in preventing infection based on initial trial results.
The early analysis looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that has enrolled 44,000 people in the US and five other countries.
The news raised hopes of a quick recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down the global economy and killed more than 1.2 million people, including more than 230,000 Americans.
Companies hit hardest by months of travel bans and lockdowns – like airlines and cruise operators – soared.
Stocks were also boosted by the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the US presidential election, which investors see as positive for global trade.
In contrast, shares in technology and other companies seen as “stay-at-home” winners in the pandemic were lower or made limited gains.
At 07am AEDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 4.5 per cent or 1271 points to 29,595.
It climbed to a record high, up nearly 6 per cent, or more than 1600 points.
All sectors were higher on the 30 stock index led by banks and oil stocks.
American Express jumped 23.1 per cent to $119.77 a share and Boeing rose 16.2 per cent.
The S&P 500 surged more than 3 per cent.
At 07am AEDT, the benchmark index was up 2.6 per cent to 3600.
The Nasdaq Composite had lost its gains and was down 0.08 per cent to 11,885.
Pfizer shares jumped 9.2 per cent to $39.76.
BioNTech shares rose 13.9 per cent to $104.80 on the Nasdaq.
Australian shares look set to surge with the ASX SPI 200 index up 2.8 per cent to 6482.
The Australian dollar is trading around a seven-week high at nearly 73 US cents, up 0.6 per cent.
Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners, said the vaccine news was positive.
“There are questions left in terms of how quickly Pfizer can get their vaccine to markets all around the world,” he said.
“But today’s market move suggests … we checked a box in terms of reducing some risk as we look ahead in terms of economy.”
The US dollar remained weak as expectations of better global trade ties and more monetary stimulus under president-elect Joe Biden lifted demand for risky assets.
Global leaders welcomed the US election results, congratulating Mr Biden even as incumbent Donald Trump refused to concede and vowed to challenge the result.
Europe stocks jump on vaccine optimism
Pfizer’s announcement also saw shares soar in Europe, adding to hopes of more stable trade policies under Mr Biden.
In London, the FTSE 100 index jumped 4.7 per cent to 6186, the DAX in German put on 4.9 per cent to 13,096, and the CAC 40 in Paris soared 7.6 per cent to 5336.
Oil prices jumped nearly 10 per cent on the vaccine news and after an OPEC output deal fueled optimism about rising demand.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, was up 7.7 per cent to $US42.47 ($58.32) a barrel.
Gold prices fell as investors turned away from safe havens to riskier assets.
Spot gold was down 4.3 per cent to $US1866.76 ($2563.44) an ounce.