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Major Averages Holding On To Strong Gains In Mid-Day Trading

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After moving sharply higher early in the session, stocks have seen further upside over the course of the trading day on Monday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has reached a new record intraday high, while the Dow has risen to its best intraday level in almost a month.

The major averages have pulled back off their highs in recent trading but remain firmly positive. The Dow is up 405.70 points or 1.6 percent at 26,481.00, the Nasdaq is up 180.89 points or 1.7 percent at 10,798.33 and the S&P 500 is up 40.86 points or 1.3 percent at 3,225.90.

The continued strength on Wall Street comes as traders react to more upbeat news regarding a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) announced that two of the companies' four investigational vaccine candidates received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The companies said they expect to start the next phase of trials as soon as later this month and are anticipating enrolling up to 30,000 subjects.

If the ongoing studies are successful and the vaccine receives regulatory approval, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021.

The upbeat news on the vaccine front comes as the U.S. has reported more than 60,000 new coronavirus cases for three days in a row, with Florida seeing a record 15,299 new cases on Sunday.

Shares of Pfizer are jumping by 4.2 percent, helping to lead the advance by the Dow, while shares of BioNTech are soaring by 13.4 percent.

The Nasdaq is benefiting from continued strength among tech giants like Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL), which have all reached new record intraday highs.

Netflix is among several big-name companies due to report their quarterly results in the coming days, along with Citigroup (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS), Bank of America (BAC), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

Sector News

Retail stocks have moved sharply higher over the course of the session, driving the Dow Jones U.S. Retail Index up by 2.7 percent to a record intraday high.

Substantial strength is also visible among pharmaceutical stocks, as reflected by the 1.8 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index.

Semiconductor stocks also continue to turn in a strong performance in mid-day trading, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index surging up by 1.6 percent.

Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM) has led the sector higher after the chipmaker agreed to be acquired by rival Analog Devices (ADI) for $20.9 billion in stock.

Healthcare, chemical and steel stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, while oil service stocks continue to buck the uptrend.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index spiked by 2.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index surged up by 1.8 percent.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index shot up by 1.7 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both jumped by 1.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed off their lows of the session but continue to see modest weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1basis point at 0.643 percent.

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