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Dow Ends Higher; Nasdaq Drops After Tech Sector Lags

Stocks end mixed Tuesday following a Wall Street rally that was fueled by optimism over a possible coronavirus vaccine.

Stocks finished mixed Tuesday following a Wall Street rally that was fueled by optimism over a possible coronavirus vaccine.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 263 points, or 0.9%, to 29,420, the S&P 500 eased 0.14% and the Nasdaq dropped 1.37%.

Technology shares - big winners during the coronavirus pandemic - were the leading laggards again Tuesday following Pfizer's  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report report Monday that its coronavirus drug candidate, developed with partner BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Report, prevented more than 90% of infections in a large-scale study.

On Monday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 1.53% as stay-at-home stocks such as Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report that have thrived during the pandemic fell on the Pfizer vaccine news.

Amazon ended lower by 3.5% Tuesday after the European Union filed formal charges against the online retail giant for alleged unfair business practices.

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Boeing  (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report finished 5.2% higher amid reports that its grounded 737 MAX aircraft could be cleared for return by as early as next week.

“Investors need to diversify toward more cyclical parts of the market that have lagged behind in 2020, and away from big tech and the primary stay-at-home beneficiaries,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. 

Despite the Pfizer news, experts cautioned Tuesday that mass deployment of a vaccine remains months away. 

President-elect Joe Biden also issued a warning the same day he unveiled a new coronavirus task force and the U.S. recorded its 10 millionth coronavirus case and hospitalizations rose to a record high of just more than 59,000.

“There’s a need for bold action to fight this pandemic. We’re still facing a very dark winter,” Biden said.

Eli Lilly  (LLY) - Get Eli Lilly and Company Report finished 2.9% higher Tuesday after receiving emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for an antibody treatment used in patients suffering mild to moderate cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.