Major North American indexes up on possible COVID-19 vaccine news


TORONTO — Major North American indexes advanced Thursday as news emerged about an upcoming COVID-19 vaccine trial.

“Markets are headline-driven as they always are, and this seems to be the latest one and it’s positive,” said Erik Bregar, head of FX strategy at the Exchange Bank of Canada.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 29.38 points to 16,606.76.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 46.85 points to 27,739.73. The S&P 500 index moved up 10.66 points to 3,385.51, while the Nasdaq composite added 118.49 points to 11,264.95.

Markets moved up after headlines said Johnson & Johnson would be soon starting a trial of a vaccine.

The company expects to start a Phase 3 trial on an estimated 60,000 participants on Sept. 5, according to a filing on, a database of public and private clinical studies.

“Markets tend to really love these vaccine headlines,” said Bregar, noting this one reads positive on the surface.

“Everything’s kind of been up ever since that,” he said, noting it’s a contrast to early-morning trading when markets were down after disappointing economic data out of the U.S.

After two weeks of declines, the number of workers applying for unemployment in the United States moved up over one million, according to a government report.

That soured investor sentiment for a few hours before the vaccine-related news boosted markets, Bregar said.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.79 cents US compared with 75.92 cents US on Wednesday.

The October crude contract lost 29 cents to US$42.82 per barrel and the September natural gas contract declined by about seven cents to US$2.35 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract shed US$23.80 to US$1,946.50 an ounce and the September copper contract fell nearly five cents to roughly US$2.98 a pound.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)