Stock futures surge as coronavirus vaccine rolls out

How can you benefit from mega-cap growth or cyclical stocks?

The Leuthold Group Chief Investment Strategist Jim Paulsen discusses mega-cap growth stocks and cyclicals.

U.S. stock futures rallied Monday morning as the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines was delivered and bipartisan stimulus deal talks were showing signs of progress.

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Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were higher by 249 points, or 0.82%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures gained 0.5% and 0.81%, respectively.

The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered by FedEx Corp. to 145 U.S. hospitals Monday, followed by another 425 on Tuesday and 66 on Wednesday.

The vaccine’s rollout comes amid chatter that negotiations surrounding a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package could restart after President Trump signed a bill that temporarily funds the government.

MILLENNIALS MAKE HOUSING MARKET A RARE WINNER IN CORONAVIRUS DOWNTURN

In mergers and acquisitions, British drugmaker AstraZeneca plc agreed to buy U.S. biotech Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39 billion cash and stock. Alexion shareholders will receive a 45% premium to Friday’s closing price.

Private-equity firm Vista Partners agreed to buy learning-software company Pluralsight Inc. for $3.5 billion cash, or a 25% premium to where shares settled on Friday.

Electronic Arts Inc. swooped in to buy U.K.-based racing game developer Codebreakers Group in a $1.4 billion deal a month after rival Take-Two Interactive struck a $971 million agreement.

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Elsewhere, Virgin Galactic Inc. shares were sharply lower after the company’s test flight conducted on Saturday failed to reach space as planned. The company said a rocket motor did not fire due to the ignition sequence not completing.

Meanwhile, Tesla Inc. sent a letter to employees informing them the production of Model X and Model S vehicles will be shut down between Dec. 24 and Jan. 11, according to CNBC. The letter also asks impacted employees to “volunteer” to help deliver vehicles to customers.

Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 47 cents to $47.04 per barrel while gold fell $14.70 to $1,828.90 an ounce.

European markets were trading higher across the board with Germany’s DAX 40 climbing 1.24%, France’s CAC 30 gaining 1.09% and Britain’s FTSE 100 edging up 0.32%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.44% while Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.3% and China’s Shanghai Composite rallied 0.66%.

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