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A face mask hanging on the fence of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Dow closed up 2.9%, or 835 points, after Pfizer announced promising, though early, findings about the effectiveness of its coronavirus vaccine. The S&P 500 finished up 1.2%.

The state of play: The vaccine progress is fueling market optimism about a possible return to normal, as the coronavirus pandemic and social-distancing restrictions have held back the U.S. economy.

By the numbers: The stock market closed at the lowest levels of the day. At one point, the Dow was up more than 5%, while the S&P soared over 3%.

  • The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed down 1.5%, as technology stocks sold off.
  • The Russell 2000, a stock market index that measures America's smallest public companies, jumped 4.3% and closed at its highest level in two years.

Between the lines: Companies that benefited from the stay-at-home economy — largely those in the tech sector — saw their share prices sink.

  • Shares of video-conferencing software company Zoom closed down 17%.

The other side: Companies whose businesses have been crushed by the pandemic saw their share prices jump.

  • The S&P 500's biggest gainers included Carnival Cruises and SL Green Realty, a major office building and shopping center landlord. Shares for those companies rose nearly 40% each.
  • AMC, the world's largest movie theater chain, saw its stock jump as much as 63% on Monday. American Airlines and United both jumped 20%.

The backdrop: Pre-market trading already pointed to a continuation of last week's election-fueled rally, but stocks skyrocketed once the Pfizer news hit.

The big picture: Markets across Europe also shot higher. The STOXX 600 closed up 4%, its best day since March, according to Reuters.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the stock market close.

Go deeper

Dec 1, 2020 - Technology

Facebook, Google push deals despite antitrust scrutiny

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Facebook announced Monday that it has purchased a customer service chatbot startup called Kustomer. The app reportedly cost Facebook $1 billion, the same amount it paid for Instagram in 2012.

Why it matters: The deal is the latest sign that the world's biggest tech companies, despite facing enormous antitrust scrutiny globally, will not stop buying up other companies.
.

5 mins ago - World

Israeli parliament opts for early elections in preliminary vote

Netanyahu (C) arrives in parliament today. Photo: Alex Kolomiensky/Pool/AFP via Getty

After six months of a dysfunctional power-sharing government, Israel is headed for its fourth elections in less than two years, most likely at the end of March.

Driving the news: The Knesset voted 61-54 today to approve the preliminary reading of a bill to dissolve the parliament and call new elections. Benny Gantz's Blue and White party supported the bill while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and the rest of the coalition voted against.

1 hour ago - Sports

The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Packed stadiums and a more normal fan experience could return by late 2021, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

Why it matters: If Fauci's prediction comes true, it could save countless programs from going extinct next year.