May 21, 2020

Bill Hastie |

Good morning,

In what appears too be a series of rally on, rally off days in the stock market, it was rally on yesterday with the Dow gaining 369 points, or 1.52%.  The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ followed suit posting gains of 48 (+1.67%) and 190 (+2.08%) points, respectively.  Despite the down say on Tuesday, strong rallies on Monday and yesterday have pushed the U.S. equity market into the positive for May.

Weighing a bit on the markets today was the release of the latest unemployment data, and while the number of unemployed were pretty much in line with expectations, highlighted the fact that the coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on this country.  For the week ended May 16, 2.4 million more Americans have filed for unemployment benefits.  Since mid-March when the full impact off the economic shut down was being felt, 38 million workers have sought unemployment benefits.

U.K. drug maker, AstraZeneca, received more than $1 billion in U.S. government funding for the testing and development of a coronavirus vaccine from the University of Oxford.  Currently in Phase III of human trials that involve 30,000 participants, AstraZeneca has indicated that with success, the vaccine could be ready for use as early as September.

As for a treatment against the virus, the FDA yesterday approved the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine – drugs that have been in use for decades primarily to fight lupus and malaria.  Gilead Science’s remdesivir also remains as an available treatment.

Stay safe and healthy.