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S&P 500, Nasdaq hits new highs in COVID-19 therapy hopes

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From Medha Singh

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were scheduled to open at record highs on Monday after the U.S. health department approved emergency use of blood plasma in COVID-19 patients and the Trump administration reportedly could expedite a vaccine candidate.

The steps come before the Republican National Convention, where President Donald Trump will be nominated to lead his party for another four years and will start the final sprint for Election Day on November 3rd.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's decision to use antibody-rich plasma from recovered patients was welcomed by Trump and came a day after he accused him of hindering the introduction of treatments for political reasons.

However, the World Health Organization was cautious about endorsing the treatment, citing "poor quality" evidence that it worked.

Another feeling of support was a report the Trump administration is considering to approve an experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca (NYSE 🙂 Plc and Oxford University for pre-election use in the US accelerate.

"Everyone is focused on the same thing, and that kills the virus, whether through treatment, but preferably vaccines," said Thomas Hayes, executive director of Great Hill Capital LLC in New York.

"This is key to opening up the economy because all the incentives and liquidity are in place. We just have to allow people to go back to normal and the world economy can boom."

Heavyweight Apple Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 was up 3.4% prior to entering the market and should top $ 500 per share for the first time after becoming the first publicly traded US company to hit over $ 2 trillion last week.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record levels on Friday, gaining four weeks of profits on bets that tech-oriented companies will emerge stronger from the pandemic and that the economy will return to growth thanks to continued monetary and fiscal support.

However, the Dow is still about 6% below its February high.

Meanwhile, the next phase of government aid to coronavirus remained elusive as top Democrats and Republicans continued to blame each other for deadlocked talks on legislation.

A key event this week would be the US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's address to the Fed's Jackson Hole Symposium in Kansas City, where he will discuss the monetary policy review.

At 8:20 a.m. CET, the S&P 500 E-Minis were up 272 points or 0.98%, 29 points or 0.85% and 117.5 points or 1.02%.

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