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The outside of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The stock market closed up more than 3% on Monday — the biggest rally in over a month — amid news that Moderna's phase one coronavirus vaccine trial showed a positive first step.

Why it matters: The stock market has rebounded in recent weeks in the face of the coronavirus crisis, which has pushed the U.S. economy into the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Long-time investors have warned about stocks' high valuations based on optimism about a vaccine or cure, as well as the economy's ability to fully rebound.

The big picture: Congress passed coronavirus relief to support workers and small businesses during the economic lockdown. Another stimulus package passed the House, but faces opposition in the Senate.

  • The Federal Reserve has also taken unprecedented steps to launch lending facilities to shore up the economy — and more support could be coming.
  • "There's really no limit to what we can do with these lending programs that we have," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told 60 Minutes last night, an interview that some traders said helped optimism on Wall Street.

By the numbers:

  • The S&P 500 rose 3.1%.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 911 points (or 3.8%).
  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed 2.4%.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 20, 2020 - Economy & Business

Investors are looking for more action from the Fed in the coming months

Expand chart
Data: Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

Minutes from the Fed's July policy meeting were released Wednesday and policymakers' dour outlook suggests that more easing and stimulus could be on the way, strategists who closely watch the central bank say.

Why it matters: More liquidity from the Fed could mean more gains for stock and bond prices and further erosion of the dollar.

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden names Erika Moritsugu as senior AAPI liaison

Erika Moritsugu. Photo courtesy: National Partnership for Women & Families

President Biden has named Erika Moritsugu as deputy assistant to the president and Asian American and Pacific Islander senior liaison, the White House announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: The decision follows weeks of pressure from AAPI leaders to include more Asian American representation at the Cabinet level and in senior administration roles.

Matt Gaetz targets CNN in new ad amid sexual misconduct claims

Rep. Matt Gaetz in Doral, Florida, last week. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) announced Wednesday a six-figure ad buy for a spot that takes aim at CNN as part of an offensive to hit back at mounting sexual misconduct allegations, Politico first reported.

Driving the news: Gaetz is under federal investigation following sex trafficking allegations, and the House Ethics Committee has also opened an inquiry. Announcing the 30-second ad, to run in his Florida Panhandle district, Gaetz called on his Twitter followers to "help us fight back!"