Via Wolf Street

Stocks split in two: some soared, others plunged. Indexes backed off sharply into the close. Dow gave up 800 points of its 1,600-point spike. Nasdaq -1.5%. Oil soared. Gold & silver dropped. 10-Year Treasury went rogue.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Upon the announcement this morning of some tidbits on a preliminary study of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine, all heck broke loose in the financial markets, with investors piling into in various things and fleeing other things, and wholesale-abandoning certain things, amid reports of outages at online brokers Charles Schwab, Fidelity, Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard, and others, where traders couldn’t log into their apps, and couldn’t make the trade of their lifetime.

And that might have saved them some money, because after the surge in the morning, stocks gave up much of it, and the Nasdaq ended up 1.5% in the red.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked 1,600 points in the morning out of the gate, to 29,933. But then it zigzagged lower and in the last 20 minutes swooned 400 points, ending the day up 834 points, or 2.95%, having given up nearly 800 points from the morning spike.

The S&P 500 Index spiked 137 points to 3,646 before giving up over two-thirds of it, and ending the day at 3,550, up a mere 1.2%.

The Nasdaq was not amused.

The Nasdaq, which contains many of the Pandemic winners, never got the hang of the spike in the morning, dropped into the red, and ended the day down 1.5%. Notably, among the Pandemic winners:

  • Zoom Video communications [ZM]: -17.4%
  • Netflix [NFLX]: -8.6%
  • Amazon [AMZN]: -5.1%
  • Facebook [FB]: -5.0%
  • Nvidia [NVDA]: -6.4%
  • Apple [AAPL]: -2.0%
  • Microsoft [MSFT]: -2.4%
  • Tesla [TSLA]: -2%
  • Alphabet [GOOG], to show that not everything on the Nasdaq was dropping, was essentially unchanged.
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There was enormous bloodletting in certain corners of the pharma and biotech space among the Covid-19 “vaccine stocks,” Covid-19-treatment stocks, and cancer treatment stocks, including:

  • Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings [ARCT], a vaccine stock: -45.4%
  • 180 Life Sciences [ATNF], a SPAC wanting to acquire a company in the healthcare industry: -38.1%
  • Ocuphire Pharma [OCUP], a cancer biotech still working its potential drugs: -37.3%
  • Altimmune [ALT], a vaccine stock: -37.1%
  • Humanigen [HGEN], a Covid-treatment stock: -32.0%
  • Vaxart [VXRT], a vaccine stock: -31.6%
  • Leap Therapeutics [LPTX], working on cancer treatments: -30.5%
  • Biogen [BIIB]: -28.2%
  • Quidel, a vaccine stock: -28.2%

Biogen got its shares [BIIB] knocked down 28.2% today, after trading had been halted all day Friday, due to an FDA panel smackdown Friday evening of the Alzheimer’s drug Biogen was trying to revive after writing it off last year. This follows a 44% spike on Wednesday. Today’s plunge put the shares back where they’d first been in November 2013, with Wednesday’s spike and today’s plunge forming an epic double-WTF chart.

Huge winners in many sectors, particularly those beaten half to death:

After Pfizer announced the Covid-vaccine news, its shares [PFE] jumped 15% out the gate and then gave up half of those gains and closed the day up 7.7%, at $39.20.

There were big gains in numerous sectors, including travel, entertainment, restaurants, mall REITs, energy, and so on. Just some examples:

  • Delta Air Lines [DAL]: +17%.
  • Sabre [SABR], which provides software-as-a-service to the airline and hospitality industry: +40.1%
  • Carnival Corp [CCL], the largest cruise line: +39.3%.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line [NCLH]: +26.7%. After the market closed, it reported a quarterly loss of $677 million, as revenue collapsed 99.6% to near-nothing ($6.5 million), from $1.9 billion a year ago.
  • Simon Property Group [SPG], the largest mall REIT in the US: +27.9%. But then after-hours, it released its earnings report, which was rougher than expected, with total revenues falling 25%, and its shares re-dropped over 7%.
  • Even CBL & Associates, which filed for bankruptcy on November 1, saw its penny stock [CBLAQ] skyrocket by 46%, but it remains near-worthless at around $0.03 a share.
  • AMC [AMC], largest cinema chain in the US, and flirting with running out of money this year: +51%, from $2.50 yesterday to $3.77 today.
  • Sundial Growers, a cannabis penny-stock [SNDL] exploded by 83% to $0.46 a share. OK…
  • Chef’s Warehouse [CHEF]: + 43%. The company supplies fine-dining restaurants and others with specialty food products, and the hope is that vaccinated people are going to go out to restaurants again.
  • Texas Roadhouse [TXRH]: +10.7%
  • Darden Restaurants [DRI]: +18.1%.
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The price of crude oil soared, with WTI up over 10% at one point, hitting $41 – because instantly everyone in the business world would start flying across the globe and commuting to the office once again – before backing off.

Energy stocks jumped in lockstep. For example, Exxon Mobil [XOM] +12.7%, Chevron [CVX] +11.6%, and Texas shale-oil driller Concho Resources [CXO]: +14.5%.

Long-term Treasury securities went rogue. Prices dropped and yields spiked. The 10-year Treasury yield spiked by 26 basis points, from 0.70% to 0.96% at the close, the highest close since the turmoil in March. As long-term Treasury prices dropped, long-term Treasury bond funds and ETFs dropped along with them. For example, the SPDR Portfolio Long Term Treasury ETF [SPTL] fell 2.0% today.

Gold and silver got hammered down. Gold fell over 5% at settlement, to $1,864 per troy ounce, the lowest since July. Gold had had a great multi-year run until early August, when it reached $2,089. Silver dropped 7.6% during the day, settling at $23.70 per ounce.

After hours. Index futures of the Dow, the S&P, and the Nasdaq are all slightly in the red at the moment. WTI is down 2%, trading at $39.47. Gold is ticking up. And silver is up 2.3%. Beyond Meat, manufacturer of fake meat, plunged 28% in after-hours trading to $108 at the moment, after having dropped 4.0% during the day, after reporting a loss of $19 million, on just $94 million in revenues. The minuscule company still has an inexplicable market cap of $6.9 billion. What a day!

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