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Nasdaq Ends at Record as FDA Fully Approves Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

Stocks close higher, with the Nasdaq at a record, as the FDA issues its full approval for the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Stocks finished higher Monday, with the Nasdaq closing at a record high, after the Food and Drug Administration issued full approval for the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report and partner BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR Report.

The agency late last year had authorized the vaccine for emergency use.

Pfizer, the New York healthcare giant, gained 2.4%, and Germany's BioNTech finished up 9.6%.

Equities rose with investors saying the FDA approval could lead to more formal vaccine mandates from companies and organizations around the country as delta-variant infections accelerate.

"To the extent that the general public becomes more comfortable living with the virus - either because of increased vaccinations or natural immunity from recovered infections - the economy is likely to continue on its upward trajectory," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. 

"The economic recovery is what is driving corporate earnings and the stock market to all-time highs, and we expect that to continue through 2021 and into 2022," he added.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 215 points, or 0.61%, to 35,335. The S&P 500 gained 0.85% and the Nasdaq jumped 1.55%.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq set intraday records on Monday.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury declined Monday at 1.255%.

Jim Cramer: This Rally Is Squarely on Pfizer's Comirnaty

Wall Street extended Friday's gains as investors looked to the Jackson Hole symposium later in the week for hints to future Federal Reserve policy.

Stocks finished higher Friday, a bright ending to a tough week, as investors grappled with the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant, the impact of the virus on growth and China's continued crackdown on its tech sector. For the week, the Dow dropped 1.1%, the S&P 500 slipped 0.6% and the Nasdaq declined 0.7%.

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U.S. business activity slowed to an eight-month low in August, according to IHS Markit's Manufacturing PMI. Supply shortages persisted and coronavirus infection rates rose across the U.S. and around the globe. 

The data and other recent economic reports have investors questioning COVID-19's impact on growth and the overall economic recovery.

The Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole symposium begins Thursday, with a keynote address from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell scheduled for Friday. 

The conference will be held virtually "due to the recently elevated COVID-19 health risk level,” the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said on its website.

The retreat's theme this year is "Macroeconomic Policy in an Uneven Economy."

Oil prices snapped a seven-day losing streak, with West Texas Intermediate crude rising nearly 5.66% to $65.66 a barrel.

Bitcoin dipped below $50,000 after rising past that level for the first time since mid-May. The cryptocurrency several months ago had slumped and lost more than half its value.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency was at $49,559, up 1.82%, on Monday. Bitcoin has risen more than 71% so far in 2021.

Boosting sentiment in the crypto space was the announcement from PayPal Holdings  (PYPL) - Get PayPal Holdings Inc Report that it expanded its cryptocurrency services outside the U.S., enabling customers in the U.K. to buy, sell and hold Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies beginning Monday. The stock finished up 1.5%.

PayPal is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells PayPal? Learn more now.

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General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report slipped 1.3% Monday after the automaker recalled its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles for the third time in nine months because of a risk the car batteries could catch fire.