Nov 9 (Reuters) - News that Pfizer Inc’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective based on initial trial results renewed hope on Monday among world leaders, scientists and global investors that the battle against a pandemic that has killed over a million people could be won.
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, and the S&P 500 touched all-time highs, lifted by stocks that were hit hard during the pandemic.
JPMorgan said on Monday it expected the S&P 500 index to hit 4,000 points by early 2021 and called Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine update “one of the best backdrops for sustained gains in years.”
U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
“STOCK MARKET UP BIG, VACCINE COMING SOON. REPORT 90% EFFECTIVE. SUCH GREAT NEWS!” he said in a Twitter post.
U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN
A coronavirus vaccine approval process must be guided by science so the public can have confidence it is safe and effective, Biden said on Monday, warning that the United States is still facing a very dark winter and that a vaccine likely won’t be available for months.
“I implore you, wear a mask. Do it for yourself. Do it for your neighbor. A mask is not a political statement.”
U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY ALEX AZAR
“Pfizer will have to now pull together their data and submit it to the FDA where it will undergo an independent review process there,” Secretary Alex Azar told Fox News Channel, referring to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “You should be thinking in the several week time period both for the submission and then review by FDA of the data.”
BRUCE AYLWARD, A SENIOR WORLD HEALTH OFFICIAL
“There is still much work to be done, this is just interim results...but some very positive results coming today which should hold great promise hopefully for the entire world as we move forward.”
BRITAIN PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON
“I must stress that these are very, very early days, and we’ve talked for a long time, right about the distant bugle of the scientific cavalry coming over the brow of the hill.”
“I can tell you that tonight that today that toot, that bugle is louder, but it’s still some way off. We absolutely cannot rely on this news, as a solution.”
CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU.
“We hope a vaccine is coming early next year. We’re seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.”
GERMANY’S HEALTH MINISTER JENS SPAHN
“If this should prove true ... then it would be a good signal because it shows that this vaccine makes a difference,” Jens Spahn told a news conference, but added he was cautious on the timeline because there can always be setbacks.
STEPHEN SCHERR, GOLDMAN SACHS CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
“We have the potential for a vaccine that could give rise to some reflationary outcomes for the economy, perhaps even more than stimulus alone would bring.
“I think that’s good for the economy and inevitably will be good for banks in the context of perhaps more slope to the yield curve than what we otherwise have experienced.”
JOHN BELL, REGIUS PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AT UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD WHO SITS ON THE UK GOVERNMENT’S VACCINE TASKFORCE
“I’m really delighted with this result for no other reason than it shows you you can make a vaccine against this little critter,” Bell told BBC Radio.
“Distribution of this is going to be challenging, and there’s a lot of complexities associated with that. But... that’s not the headline here. The headline is, we’ll solve those things if we need to.”
STEPHAN BECKER, HEAD OF THE INSTITUTE OF VIROLOGY, PHILIPPS-UNIVERSITY MARBURG
“I consider the results presented to be very encouraging! Although the number of SARS-CoV-2 cases in the study is relatively low at 94 and it will certainly be necessary to wait for the overall data, I consider this a very encouraging result. Unfortunately, the information in the press release is not sufficient to provide a more accurate assessment.”
LEIF-ERIK SANDER, HEAD OF THE RESEARCH GROUP INFECTION IMMUNOLOGY AND VACCINE RESEARCH, CHARITÉ - UNIVERSITÄTSMEDIZIN BERLIN
“All in all, these first data of this interim analysis are to be judged as extremely positive, despite all limitations. If this trend in the data continues, i.e. protection of more than 90 percent of those vaccinated, this would mean unexpectedly high vaccination efficiency, which cannot be achieved with many of the routinely used vaccines, such as those against influenza.
“This is all the more astounding as I have never had the mRNA technology approved in a vaccine before. So this is very positive news, although we still have to wait for the details, especially regarding age-specific vaccine efficacy, duration of protection and safety.”
CHILE’S PRESIDENT SEBASTIAN PINERA
“I expect that, in the final analysis, it will be seen that Chile was hit hard by the pandemic and the global recession but managed to face it with unity, will and results that put Chile in a privilege position not only in the context of Latin America but also the world,” said Pinera.
PROFESSOR MASSIMO CLEMENTI, DIRECTOR OF MICROBIOLOGY AT SAN RAFFAELE HOSPITAL IN MILAN.
“This is excellent news, though partly expected.”
“The most interesting aspect is that all these companies involved in the creation of a vaccine have started production while they were conducting the experimental phase. In other words, they tried to gain time on the production side by not derogating from the accuracy and completeness of the experimentation.”
PAUL CRAIG, PORTFOLIO MANAGER AT QUILTER INVESTORS
“This vaccine is not a silver bullet. Many of the issues facing developed economies now are structural and a vaccine is not going to prevent the large scale unemployment we are likely to see as a result of the lockdowns of earlier this year.”
MOHAMMED KAZMI, PORTFOLIO MANAGER FOR UBP’S ABSOLUTE FIXED INCOME TEAM
“Positive vaccine news from Pfizer takes us one step closer to FDA approval, which will allow for markets to become more comfortable with the growth recovery story. Any near-term blips will now be seen as temporary in nature, as investors will begin to assume that the vaccine will provide a more permanent solution.
“Although we expect for the low rates environment to be maintained in the medium term given the lack of inflation globally, we could see rates markets breathe as growth expectations for 2021 are revised higher.”
MARCEL TANNER, PRESIDENT SWISS ACADEMIES OF ARTS AND SCIENCES, MEMBER OF THE SWISS NATIONAL COVID-19 SCIENCE TASK FORCE, PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY AND MEDICAL PARASITOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BASEL
“The interim analysis shows things are on a very good track. So far, we do not have frequent side effects, though the rare side effects cannot be detected in this phase, they are only observed as part of post-registration conditions of phase 4. To see good efficacy among young, healthy adults, is promising.”
KAREN WARD, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST EMEA, J.P. MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT
“News on the efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine is an important piece of the puzzle needed for the global economy and markets to put the COVID-19 recession behind it. But hurdles still remain. We need to find out more about production capabilities, rollout and take-up.
“But for now this is shifting the winners and losers sectoral narrative that was created by COVID-19 and leading to a revival in value sectors such as energy and financials.
“Coupled with Biden’s win in the U.S. election, and a more predictable multilateral approach to issues such as trade and climate change, the stage is set for a more balanced return trajectory - by sector, style and in turn by region.”
JAMES MCDONALD, CEO AND CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, HERCULES INVESTMENTS
“Even with the promise of an effective COVID-19 vaccine, we now have to take a sober look at the damage this virus has caused the economy. Fundamentally, the stock market is now more overvalued than it has ever been. The COVID-19 vaccine can’t cure that. An overnight recovery is impossible, let alone overnight growth that exceeds pre-COVID levels.
“The rally that began in earnest as Biden became the presumed winner of the U.S. presidential election is now the strongest two-week rally during an election contest in history.
“Now that a vaccine can stop COVID-19, the Fed is likely to stop its unlimited support doctrine and this will pull the rug from what’s been supporting gains in equities.”
TIMOTHY GRAF, HEAD OF MACRO STRATEGY FOR EMEA, STATE STREET GLOBAL MARKETS
“While it is still too early to start suggesting when life in and out of markets will get back to normal, news of a vaccine breakthrough will be welcome news to the most undervalued corners of the market.
“While rolling out a vaccine, assuming its ultimate success, will take time, industries devastated by COVID-19 can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.
“Alongside monetary and fiscal support that looks entrenched in many economies for the foreseeable future and demand potentially coming back faster than we had anticipated, our existing upbeat take on risky assets looks well justified by today’s news.”
RICHARD SALDANHA, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, AVIVA INVESTORS
“If these initial findings from this Pfizer/BioNTech study hold up in further read-outs then this would really be a game-changer for markets.
“The key here is the efficacy of the vaccine – most people were looking at 60-70% efficacy as the threshold level, but these results have exceeded all expectations.
“In particular it’s a gamechanger for sectors that have been much beleaguered as a result of COVID – travel and leisure would be the obvious beneficiaries, but also sectors that are very sensitive to economic activity, i.e banks, insurance, real estate.”
CARSTEN BRZESKI, GLOBAL HEAD OF MACRO, ING
“The bigger driver of the economic outlook is from outside factors. Right now that means the development of a vaccine, which is why we are following news on this front closely.
“The base case we have already is that we are likely to get a vaccine by year-end and that it will be rolled (out). So we do see news like this as positive. The worrying sign would be if we get negative news, say on testing - that would hurt how we view the economic outlook.”
RUSSELL SILBERTSON, CO-HEAD OF DEVELOPED MARKET FX & RATES, ASSET MANAGER NINETY ONE
“If the bearish view embedded in markets was that there was no effective vaccine any time soon priced in, clearly that needs significant repricing now.
“You couple (this morning’s news) with the sheer weight of all the stimulus in markets, and that’s a very strong economic upside scenario.”
CHRIS SCICLUNA, HEAD OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH, DAIWA CAPITAL MARKETS, LONDON
“The good news on the vaccine was always the upside risk for markets, and if it is developed and rolled out quickly, then that does support the recovery and reflation narrative.
“But we have do have to be careful that the number of patients reporting results (is) still very low, so we need to be perhaps cautiously optimistic about this news and look at a lot more results.
“The results have not been peer reviewed yet, but it is positive. They (Pfizer) are also upping their production forecasts and that is positive.”
KENNETH BROUX, FX STRATEGIST, SOCIETE GENERALE
“The COVID-19 vaccine news adds to the positive risk tone in stocks and underpins high beta currencies vs the U.S. dollar. Any positive news on a vaccine is good news for the world economy and offers perspective for a rebound/normalisation in 2021 growth.” (Compiled by the Global Finance & Markets Breaking News team, and Emilio Parodi, John Miller, Matt Scuffham, Alistair Smout, Aislinn Laing; Caroline Copley, Michael Holden; Editing by Edward Tobin)
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