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S&P 500 and Nasdaq Close at Records on Virus Treatment Optimism

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq close at records as investors embrace progress in the quest for coronavirus treatments and vaccines. Apple trades above $500.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at records on Monday as investors embraced progress in the quest for coronavirus treatments and vaccines.

The S&P 500 gained 1% to close at 3,431, while the the Nasdaq rose 0.6% to 11.379, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 378 points, or 1.35%, to 28,308.

The market moves came after the Food and Drug Administration expanded access to a virus treatment using blood plasma from recovered patients.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also hit intraday records on Monday.

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report rose 1.1% to $502.93, topping $500 a share for the first time ever, as tech stocks continue to lead Wall Street. Apple shares will begin trading on a 4-for-1 stock-split basis on Aug. 31.

The FDA issued an emergency-use authorization for convalescent plasma as a treatment for covid-19 in hospitalized patients, the Trump administration said.

Airline, cruise-ship and hotel stocks were rising on news about coronavirus treatments and vaccines.

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“This is a powerful therapy,” President Donald Trump said Sunday at a White House news conference. “Today’s action will dramatically expand access to this treatment.”

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Astrazeneca PLC Sponsored ADR Report was rose 1.9% Monday after a report said the Trump administration was weighing going around traditional regulatory standards to "fast-track" a possible coronavirus vaccine being developed by the company and the Oxford University.

According to the Financial Times, the U.S. FDA could give emergency-use authorization as early as October to a vaccine the company and the university have been developing.

Global cases of the coronavirus rose to about 23.5 million, and deaths have risen to above 809,800. In the U.S., more than 5.7 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed and 176,927 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“Whenever there is any news that is seen as something that is helping the battle against coronavirus, it gives a boost to sentiment,” Shane Oliver, a Sydney-based chief economist at AMP, told Reuters.

Oil prices settled higher Monday as nearly 1 million barrels a day of production capacity in the Gulf of Mexico was shuttered. Drillers and refiners braced for the twin impact of storms Marco and Laura, which could turn into hurricanes as they come ashore Monday. 

West Texas Intermediate crude contracts for October delivery, the new U.S. benchmark, rose 0.7% to $42.62 a barrel.