US open: Investors cheered by pick up in pace of vaccinations
Wall Street's main market gauges were slightly as investors cheered positive news regarding the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines in the US and in growing anticipation of further economic stimulus.
"Vaccine rollouts have been messy, but as more vaccines get regional approval, risk appetite is thriving as we get closer to the other side of COVID," said Edward Moya at Oanda.
According to Pantheon Macroeconomics, the pace of daily vaccinations in the States had climbed past 400,000, although a clip nearer 1.5-2.0m per day was needed tro reach so-called 'herd immunity' by the spring.
In any case, as of 1601 GMT the Dow Jones Industrial was 0.17% higher to 31,059.78, alongside a 0.08% advance on the S&P 500 to 3,802.77 while the Nasdaq-100 was up by 0.22% to 13,063.33.
Yields on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury note were also up, by three basis points to 1.18%.
Mergers and acquisitions activity was still making the headlines as medical supplies outfit Steris unveiled a takeover bid for rival Cantel Medical for $4.6bn, including debt.
There were also reports that online video conference software provider Zoom was looking to raise $1.5bn via a share sale.
Moderna stock was up 1% after the biotech outfit's boss told a JP Morgan conference the day before that its vaccine should offer at least a year's worth of protection.
Banks were finding a bid early on after Citi upgraded its recommendation on shares of Bank of New York Mellon and PNC Financial to 'neutral' as well as thanks to the steeper Treasury curve.
Back on the health front, concerned with what some were labelling as too slow a roll-out of vaccine, the outgoing Trump administration was set to encourage was reportedly set to encourage state officials to broaden access to vaccines to all Americans over 65 years of age, Axios reported.
The National Federation of Independent Business's index of small business confidence fell to 95.9 in December from 101.4 for the month before, well below the consensus, 100.3.
Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics put the drop down chiefly to Donald Trump's election defeat.