Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Higher; Johnson & Johnson Receives FDA Approval For COVID-19 Vaccine

Following the market opening Monday, the Dow traded up 1.91% to 31,522.98 while the NASDAQ rose 1.72% to 13,419.71. The S&P also rose, gaining 1.75% to 3,877.99.

The U.S. has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, reporting a total of 28,605,930 cases with around 513,090 deaths. India confirmed a total of at least 11,112,240 confirmed cases and 157,150 deaths, while Brazil reported over 10,551,250 COVID-19 cases with 254,940 deaths. In total, there were at least 114,193,910 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with over 2,532,750 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Energy shares rose 3.5% on Monday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Aemetis, Inc. AMTX, up 50%, and PBF Logistics LP PBFX, up 10%.

In trading on Monday, real estate shares rose by just 1.1%.

Top Headline

Johnson & Johnson's JNJ single-shot coronavirus vaccine candidate has been cleared as the third vaccine in the U.S. for emergency use, a day after it received the unanimous backing of an independent Food and Drug Administration expert panel. The CDC Advisory Panel also voted to recommend the company’s vaccine for adults over 18.

J&J's vaccine has been issued authorization to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV2, allowing it to be distributed in the U.S. for use in individuals 18 years of age and older, the FDA said .


Equities Trading UP

Morphic Holding, Inc. MORF shares shot up 71% to $62.00 after the company reported FY20 sales of $45 million, up from $17 million year over year. The company also reported "positive" interim results from single ascending dose Phase 1 clinical trial of MORF-057.

Shares of Aemetis, Inc. AMTX got a boost, shooting 48% to $14.57 after the company disclosed five-year plan targeting $1 billion of revenue by 2025.

electroCore, Inc. ECOR shares were also up, gaining 58% to $3.43 after the company announced an Exclusive Distribution Agreement with Medistar following regulatory approval in Australia.

Check out these big movers of the day

Equities Trading DOWN

Athenex, Inc. ATNX shares tumbled 53% to $5.63 after the company's marketing application for oral paclitaxel to treat metastatic breast cancer was denied by the FDA.


Shares of Ontrak, Inc. OTRK were down 47% to $31.53 after the company issued FY21 sales guidance below analyst estimates.

CorMedix Inc. CRMD was down, falling 42% to $8.64 after the FDA has issued a Complete Response Letter for CorMedix’s marketing application seeking approval for DefenCath (taurolidine/heparin catheter lock solution) for catheter-related bloodstream infections. FDA noted concerns at the third-party manufacturing facility after reviewing records, though the agency did not specify the issues.


In commodity news, oil traded up 1.1% to $62.20, while gold traded up 0.7% to $1,740.70.

Silver traded up 1.7% Monday to $26.89 while copper rose 1.2% to $4.1425.

Euro zone

European shares were higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 gained 1.4%, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 1% and the German DAX 30 gained 0.9%. Meanwhile, the French CAC 40 rose 1.3%, London’s FTSE 100 rose 1.3% and Italy’s FTSE MIB climbed 1.2%.

The IHS Markit Eurozone manufacturing PMI was revised slightly higher to 57.9 in February from a preliminary estimate of 57.7. Spain’s manufacturing PMI climbed to 52.9 in February from 49.3 a month ago, while German manufacturing PMI increased to 60.7 in February from 57.1 in January. French manufacturing PMI climbed to 56.1 in February from 51.6 in January.


The IHS Markit manufacturing PMI was revised higher to 58.6 in February from a preliminary reading of 58.5.

The ISM manufacturing PMI climbed to 60.8 in February from 58.7 in January.

Construction spending increased 1.7% to an annual rate of $1.52 trillion in January.

The Treasury is set to auction 3-and 6-month bills at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic is set to speak at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Check out the full economic calendar here

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