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Stock Gains Accelerate—Vaccine Optimism, Jobless Claims Are Positive Signals

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Stock gains accelerated by midday Thursday as jobless claims are slowing and vaccine optimism rises.

All three major U.S. indices rose, with the S&P 500 up as much as 0.95%, better than the morning’s gains of just 0.4%. The 10-Year Treasury yield rose to 0.7%. Yields rise when prices fall. 

The S&P 500 is now down just 6% year-to-date and down 9% from its all-time-high, suggesting the market is pricing in a fast economic recovery. 

And jobless claims did slow down this past week, coming in at 2.1 million. At the start of the lockdown, claims were at 6 million and have steadily fallen. 

But investors are also hopeful about the possibility of a coronavirus vaccine getting to market soon. Thursday, Gilead Sciences  (GILD)  and Roche said they are partnering to produce a combined vaccine. Gilead shares rose 0.7%, while Roche rose 2.7%. 

Elsewhere, Dollar Tree  (DLTR)  shares rose 11%, the biggest S&P 500 gainer on the day. The discount store beat revenue and earnings estimates handily, boasting 15% same-store-sales growth at the previously struggling Family Dollar, giving investors confidence in the business. This may also underscore the strength of the discount retail business during times of economic stress. 

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